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THIS second volume contains the history of Christianity from the end 
of the Apostolic age to the beginning of the Nicene. 

The first Edict of Toleration, A. r>. 811, made an end of persecution ; 
the second Edict of Toleration, 313 (there is no third), prepared the way 
for legal recognition and protection ; the Nicene Council, 325, marks the 
solemn inauguration of the imperial state-church. Constantine, like 
Eusebius, the theologian, and Hosius the statesman, of his reign, belongs 
to both periods and must be considered in both, though more rally in the 

We live in an age of discovery and research, similar to that which pre- 
ceded the Reformation. The beginnings of history, the beginnings of 
civilization, the beginnings of Christianity are now absorbing the atten- 
tion of scholars. 

During the present generation early church history has been vastly 
enriched by new sources of information, and almost revolutionized by in- 
dependent criticism. Among the recent literary discoveries and pub- 
lications the following deserve special mention : 

The SYJRIAO IGNATIUS (by Cureton 1845 and 1849), which opened a 
new chapter in the Ignatian controversy so closely connected with the rise 
of Episcopacy and Catholicism ; the PHILOSOPHUMENA of HIPPOLYTUS 
(by Miller 1851, and by Duncker and Schneidewin, 1859), which have shed 
a flood of light on the ancient heresies and systems of thought, as well as 
on the doctrinal and disciplinary commotions in the Roman church in 
the early part of the third century ; the TENTH BOOK of THE PSEUDO- 
CLEMENTINE HOMILIES (by Dressel, 1853), which supplements our 
knowledge of a curious type of distorted Christianity in the post-apos- 
tolic age, and furnishes, by an undoubted quotation, a valuable contribu- 
tion to the solution of the Johannean problem ; the GREEK HERMAS 
from Mt. Athos (the Codex Lipsiensis, published by Anger and Tischen- 
dorf, 1856) ; a new and complete Greek MS. of the FIRST EPISTLE oi 
the ROMAN CLEMENT with several important new chapters and the oldest 



written Christian prayer (about one-tenth of the whole), found in a Con- 
vent Library at Constantinople (by Bryennios, 1875) ; and in the sjime 
codex the SECOND (so called) EPISTLE of CLEMENT, or post-Clcniontine 
HOMILY rather, in its complete form (20 chs. instead of 12), giving u,s 
the first post-apostolic sermon, besides a new Greek text of the Epistle 
of BARNABAS; a SYRIAC Version of CLEMENT in the library of Jules 
Mohl, now at Cambridge (1876) ; fragments of TATIAN'S DIATESSARON 
with EPHR^M'S COMMENTARY on it, in an Armenian version (Latin by 
Mosinger 1878) ; fragments of the apologies of MELITO (1858), and Aius- 
TIDES (1878) j the complete Greek text of the ACTS of THOMAS (by Max 
Bonnet, 1883) ; and the crowning discovery of all, the CODEX SINAITI- 
cus, the only complete uncial MS. of the Greek Testament, together 
with the GREEK BARNABAS and the GREEK HERMAS (by Tischcndorf, 
1862), which, with the facsimile edition of the VATICAN CODEX (1SG8- 
1881, 6 vols.), marks an epoch in the science of textual criticism of the 
Greek Testament and of those two Apostolic Fathers, and establishes the 
fact of the ecclesiastical use of all our canonical books in tho age of 

In view of these discoveries we would not be surprised if tho EXPOSI- 
TION of THE LORD'S ORACLES by PAPIAS, which was still in existence 
at Nismes in 1215, the MEMORIALS of HEGESIPPUS, and the whole 
GREEK original of IRENJBUS, which were recorded by a librarian us ex- 
tant in the sixteenth century, should turn up in some old convent. 

In connection with these fresh sources there has been a corresponding 
activity on the part of scholars. The Germans have done and are doing 
an astonishing amount of Quellenforschung&uA QuellenkriLik in numorouB 
monographs and periodicals, and have given us the newest and best 
critical editions of the Apostolic Fathers and Apologists. The JOnglinh 
with their strong common sense, judicial calmness, and conservative tact 
are fast wheeling into the line of progress, as is evident from the collec- 
tive works on Christian Antiquities, and Christian Biography, and from 
Bp. Lightfoot's Clementine Epistles, which are soon to be followed by his 
edition of the Ignatian Epistles. To the brilliant French genius and learn- 
ing of Mr. Renan we owe a graphic picture of the secular surrounding 
of early Christianity down to the time of Marcus Aurelius, with sharp 
glances into the literature and life of the church. liiw Histoire den 
Origins du Christianisme, now completed in seven volumes, after twenty 
years' labor, is" well worthy to rank with Gibbon's immortal work. The 
Rise and Triumph of Christianity is a grander theme than the contempo- 
rary Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but no historian can do 
justice to it without faith in the divine character and mission of that 
peaceful Conqueror of immortal souls, whose kingdom shall have no end, 


The importance of these literary discoveries and investigations should 
not blind us to the almost equally important monumental discoveries and 
researches of Cavalier de Rossi, Garrucci, and other Italian scholars who 
have illuminated the subterranean mysteries of the church of Rome and 
of early Christian art. Neander, Gieseler, and Baur, the greatest church 
historians of the nineteenth century, are as silent about the catacombs 
as Mosheim and Gibbon were in the eighteenth. But who could now write 
a history of the first three centuries without recording the lessons of those 
rude yet expressive pictures, sculptures and epitaphs from the homes of 
confessors and martyrs ? Nor should we overlook the gain which has 
come to us from the study of monumental inscriptions, as for instance 
in rectifying the date of Polycarp's martyrdom who is now brought ten 
years nearer to the age of St. John. 

Before long there will be great need of an historic architect who will 
construct a beautiful and comfortable building out of the vast material 
thus brought to light. The Germans are historic miners, the French and 
English are skilled manufacturers j the former understand and cultivate 
the science of history, the latter excel in the art of historiography. A 
master of both would be the ideal histprian. But God has wisely dis- 
tributed his gifts, and made individuals and nations depend upon and 
supplement each other. 

The present volume is an entire reconstruction of the corresponding 
part of the first edition (vol. I. p. 144^528), which appeared twenty-five 
years ago. It is more than double in size. Some chapters (e. g. VI. VII. 
IX.) and several sections (e. g. 90-93, 103, 155-157, 168, 171, 184, 189, 
190, 193, 198-204, etc.) are new, and the rest has been improved and 
enlarged, especially the last chapter on the literature of the church. My 
endeavor has been to bring the book up to the present advanced state oi 
knowledge, to record every important work (German, French, English, 
and American) which has come under my notice, and to make the results 
of the best scholarship of the age available and useful to the rising gene- 

In conclusion, I may be permitted to express my thanks for the kind 
reception which has been accorded to this revised edition of the work of 
my youth. It will stimulate me to now energy in carrying it forward as 
far as God may give time and strength. The third volume needs no re- 
construction, and a new edition of the same with a few improvements 
will be issued without delay. 


October, 1883. 




A,D. 100-311 (325), 


j ?.. General Literature on the Ante-Nicene Age ,. 8 

\ 2. General Character of Ante-Nicene Christianity. 7 


8, Literature 13 

4. Hindrances and Helps 14 

j 6. Causes of the Success of Christianity J 16 

C. Means of Propagation 19 

7. Extent of Christianity in the Roman Empire 22 

8. Christianity in Asia 23 

9. Christianity in Egypt 24 

10. Christianity in North Africa 26 

11. Christianity in Europe 28 


12. Literature 81 

13. General Survey 32 

14. Jewish Persecution 36 

15. Causes of Roman Persecution 40 

16. Condition of the Church before the Reign of Trajan 44 

17. The Reign of Trajan. A. D. 98-117. Martyrdom of Ignatius . . 45 

18. Hadrian, A.D. 117-137 49 

19. Antoninus Pius. A.D. 137-161. Martyrdom of Polycarp . ... 50 

20. Persecutions under Marcus Aurelius. A. D. 161-180 62 



? 21. From Septimius Severus to Philip the Arabian. A.D. 193-249 . 57 
2 22. Persecutions under Decius and Valerian. A. D. 24U-2CO. Martyr- 

dom of Cyprian . . . . ............. ' . . GO 

2 23. Temporary Repose. A. D. 260-303 ......... . . . . . 03 

$24. The Diocletian Persecution. A.D. 303-311 ......... 04 

1 25. The Edicts of Toleration. A. D. 311-313 ............ 71 

2 26. Christian Martyrdom .................... 74 

g 27. Else of the Worship of Martyrs and Relics ........... 82 


28. Literature ........................ 85 

2 29. Literary Opposition to Christianity .............. 80 

2 30. Jewish Opposition. Josephus and the Talmud ........ '. 87 

31. Pagan Opposition. Tacitus and Pliny ............. 88 

g 32. Direct Assaults. Celsus ....... ............ 81) 

2 33. Lucian .......................... WJ 

} 34. Neo-Platonism ....................... 05 

J 35. Porphyry and Hierocles ................. * . 101 

5 36. Summary of the Objections to Christianity ........... 103 

2 37. The Apologetic Literature of Christianity ........... 104 

38. The Argument against Judaism ................ 107 

2 39. The Argument against Heathenism ........... ... KM) 

40. The Positive Apology . . .................. 114 



41. Progress in Consolidation ................. 121 

2 42. Clergy and Laity 

2 43. New Church Officers ............... * ..... 1,'Jl 

{ 44. Origin of the Episcopate ................... J#2 

245. Development of the Episcopate. Ignatius ........... 144 

2 46, Episcopacy at -the Time of Irenseus and Tertullian ........ 140 

2 47. Cypriaiiic Episcopacy .................... ICO 

2 48. The Pseudo-Clementine Episcopacy .............. 151 

2 49. Beginnings of the Metropolitan and Patriarchal Systems ..... 152 

250. Germs of the Papacy .................... 154 

251. Chronology of the Popes ................... 1015 

2 62. List of the Roman Bishops and Roman Emperors during the First 

Three Centuries .................... lf,(j 

2 53. The Catholic Unity ..................... 168 

2 54. Councils ......................... 175 

| 55. The Councils of Elvira, Aries, and Ancyra ........... 170 

2 66. Collections of Ecclesiastical Law. The Apostolic Constitutions and 

Canons ....... ...... . .......... Ifl3 

2 67. Church Discipline ........... , ......... 187 

{ 68, Church. Schisms .......... . , . ......... 198 




1 59. Places of Common Worship 198 

2 60. The Lord's Day . . 201 

2 61. The Christian Passoyer (Easter) 206 

2 62. The Paschal Controversies 209 

2 63. Pentecost 220 

2 64. Epiphany 221 

2 05. The Order of Public Worship 222 

2 06. Parts of Worship, Reading of Scriptures. Sermons. Prayers 

Hymns 224 

2 67. Tho Division of Divino Porvice. The Disciplina Arcani 231 

2 68. Tho Celebration of the Eucharist 235 

2 60. The Doctrine of the Eucharist 241 

2 70. The Celebration of Baptism 247 

\ 71. The Doctrine of ftnpl ism 253 

2 72. Catechetical Instruction and Confirmation * 255 

2 73. Infant Baptism 258 

2 74. Heretical Baptism 262 


2 75. Literature 266 

2 76. Origin of Christian Art 267 

\ 77. Tho Cross and the Crucifix 269 

2 78. Other Christian Symbols 273 

g 79. Historical and Allegorical Pictures . . . . 274 

2 80. Allegorical Representations of Christ , 276 

2 81. Pictures of the Virgin Mary 281 



? 82. Literature 286 

2 83. Origin and History of the Catacombs 287 

2 84. Description of the Catacombs 294 

2 85. Pictures and Sculptures 298 

2 86. Epitaphs 299 

2 87. Lessons of the Catacombs 8 6 


\ 88. Literature 31 * 

2 89. Moral Corruption in the Roman Empire 312 

\ 90. Stoic Morality 81 * 


g 91. Epictetus ........................ 321 

g 92. Marcus Aurelius ..................... 3 ^6 

g 93. Plutarch ........................ 330 

g 94. Christian Morality .................... 334 

g 95. The Church and Public Amusements ............ 338 

g 96. Secular Callings and Civil Duties .............. 343 

g 97. The Church and Slavery .................. 347 

g 98. The Heathen Family ................... 854 

g 99. The Christian Family ................... 361 

\ 100. Brotherly Love and Love for Enemies ............ 370 

\ 101. Prayer and Fasting .................... 377 

102. Treatment of the Dead ................... 380 

\ 103, Summary of Moral Reforms ................. 386 



g 104. Ascetic Virtue and Piety .................. 387 

105. Heretical and Catholic Asceticism .............. 392 

g 106. Voluntary Poverty ..................... 396 

I 107. Voluntary Celibacy .................... 307 

g 108. Celibacy of the Clergy ................... 403 



g 109. Literature ...... ' ................. 416 

g 110. External History of Montanism ............... 417 

g 111, Character and Tenets of Montanism ............. 421 



g 112. Judaism and Heathenism within the Church ......... 428 

g 113. Nazarenes and Ebionites. (Elkesaites, Mandseans.) ...... 48 

g 114. The Pseudo-Clementine Ebionism .............. 436 

j 115. Gnosticism. The Literature ............. ... 442 

g 1 16. Meaning, Origin and Character of Gnosticism ... ...... 444 

g 117. System of Gnosticism. Its Theology ............. 449 

g 118. Ethics of Gnosticism .................... 457 

g 119. Cultus and Organization .............. . . , 453 

g 120. Schools of Gnosticism ................... 459 

g 121. Simon Magus and the Simonians ..,..., ....... 461 

g 122. The Nicolaitans ...................... 464 

g 123. Cerinthus ................ , ......... 406 

g 124. Basilides ......................... 466 

g 125. Valentinus ........................ 473 


2 126. The School of Valentinus, fleracleon .Ptolemy, Marcos, Barde-, Harmonius . 479 

2 127. Marcion and his School 482 

2 128. The Ophites. The Sethites Peratae, and lamites 487 

2 129. Saturninus (Satormlos^ 491 

2 130. Carpocrates 492 

2 181. Tatian and the Encratites , 493 

2 132, Justin the Gnostic . . , . . 495 

g 133. Heriuogenes . . . , , . . 496 

2'134. Other Gnostic Sects 497 

2 135. Mani and the Manichaeans . . . . 498 

2 136. The Manichgean System . . . . . , . 503 



| 187. Catholic Orthodoxy 509 

2 138. The Holy Scriptures and the Canon 516 

^ 139. Catholic Tradition 524 

2 140. The Rule of Faith and the Apostles' 'Creeo 528 

J 141. Variations of the Apostles 7 Creed Tables . , 634 

2 142. God and the Creation 538 

2 143. Man and the Fall .... 541 

2 144. Christ and the Incarnation - . . -, ........ 544 

2 145. The Divinity of Christ 648 

2 146. The Humanity of Chris* 1 656 

2 147. The Relation of the Di <ne and Human IT Jurist 559 

2 148. The Holy Spirit 560 

2 149. The Holy Trinity - . . 564 

2 150. Antitrinitarians. .First Class JL'he Alo#, Iheodotus, Artemon, 

Paul of Samoa ita . , . 571 

2 151. Antitrinitariana. -^ cconlClass Praxeas lN-etus,Ca*qs,Beryllus 576 

2 152. Sabellianism 580 

2 153. Redemption . . 583 

2 154. Other Doctrines 588 

2 155. Eachatology. Immortality and Resurrection 589 

2 156. Between Death and Resurrection ... , . 599 

2 157. After Judgment Future Punishmenr, .*,.'. 606 

2 158. ChiliaBm ... 612 



2 159. Literature . . . . 620 

2 160. A General Estimate ot the Father* 625 

1 161. The Apostolic U'atners ... 631 

\ 162. Clement of Rome 636 


\ 163. The Pseudo-Clementine Writings 648 

2 164. Ignatius of Antioch . , . 661 

2 165. The Ignatian Controversy 660 

2 166. Polycarp of Smyrna 664 

2 167. Barnabas 671 

I 168. Hermas 678 

1 169. Papias 693 

2 170. The Epistle to Diognetus 608 

1 171. Sixtus of Borne 703 

J 172. The Apologists. Quadratus and Aristides 707 

2 173. Justin the Philosopher and Martyr 710 

2 174. The other Greek Apologists. Tatian 720 

2 175. Athenagoras . " 730 

2 176. Theophilus of Antioch 732 

1 177. Melito of Sardis 730 

2 178. Apolinarius of Hierapolis. Miltiades , , 740 

2 179. Hermias 741 

2 180. Hegesippus 742 

2 181. Dionysius of Corinth 744 

2 182. Irenes 740 

2 183. Hippolytus 757 

2 184. Caius of Kome 775 

g 185 The Alexandrian School of Theology * . 777 

2 186. Clement of Alexandria 781 

2 187. Origen 785 

2 188. The Works of Origen 703 

2 189. The School of Origen. Gregory Thaumaturgus 700 

2 190. Dionysius the Great 800 

2 191.- Julius Africanus 803 

2192, Minor Divines of the Greek Church 800 

2 193. Opponents of Origen. Methodius 800 

2 194. Lucian of Antioch ..." 812 

2 195. The Antiochian School . . 815 

2 196. Tertullian and' the African School 818 

\ 197. The Writings of Tertullian 82g 

{ 198. Minucius Felix 833 

2 199. Cyprian 842 

{ 200. Novatian 849 

2 201. Commodian 863 

202. Arnobius 850 

{ 203. Victorinus , 8C1 

I 204. Eusebius, Lactantius, Hosius 864 

Illustrations from the Catacombs ,,,.. 4 867 

Alphabetical Index * t t <,.* W 







A. D. 100-325. 







1. Literature on the Ante-Nicene Age. 


<* . 1. The writings of the Apostolic Fathers, the Apologists, and all 
the ecclesiastical authors of the 2nd and 3rd, and to some extent of 
the 4th and 5th centuries ; particularly CLEMENT OF EOME, IGNA- 

2. The writings of the numerous heretics, mostly extant only in 

3. The works of the pagan opponents of Christianity, as CELSUS, 

4. The occasional notices of Christianity, in the contemporary 
classical authors, TACITUS, SUETONIUS, the younger PLINY, DION 

II. COLLECTIONS OF SOURCES, (besides those included in the com- 

prehensive Patristic Libraries) : 
GJBBHARDT, HARNACK, and ZAHN : Patrum Apostolicorum Opera. Lips., 

1876 ; second ed. 1878 sqq. 
FR. XAV. FUNK (R. 0.): Opera Patrum Apost. Tubing., 1878, 1881, 

1887, 2 vols. The last edition includes the Didache. 
L C. TH. OTTO : Corpus Apologetarum Ckristianontm soscuU secundi. 

Jense, 1841 sqq., in 9 vols. ; 2nd ed. 1847-1861 ; 3rd ed. 1876 sqq. 

4 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

ROBERT AND DONALDSON : Ante-Nicene Christian Library. Edinburgh 

(T.& T. Clark), 1868-'72, 25 volumes. American edition, chrono- 

logcally arranged and enlarged by Bishop A. C. COXB, D. D. , with 

a valuable Bibliographical Synopsis by E. C. RICHARDSON. Now 

York (Christian Literature Company), 1885-87, 9 large vols. . 

The fragments of the earliest Christian writers, whose works are 
lost, may be found collected in GRABE : SpicUegium Patrum ut et 
Haereticorum Saeculi I. II. et UL (Oxon. 1700 ; new ed. Oxf. 1714, 
3 vols.); in BOTJTH: ReliquuR JSacrce, swe auctorum fere jam perdi- 
torum secundi, tertiique saeculi fragmenta, quae supersunt (Oxon. 1814 
sqq. 4 vols. ; 2nd ed. enlarged, 5 vols. Oxf. 1846-48) ; and in DOM. 
I. B. PITRA (0. S. B. 3 a French Cardinal since 1863) : Spidlegium 
Solesmense, complectens sanctorum patrum scriptorumque eccles. anec- 
dota hactenus opera) selecta e Graecis, Orientialibus et Latinis codicibus 
(Paris, 1852-'60, 5 vols.). Comp. also BUNSEN : Christianity and Man- 
Und, etc. Lond. 1854, vols. V., VI. and VII., which contain the 
Analecta Ante-Nicaena (reliquiw literarics, canonicos, liturgies). 

The h&reseological writings of Epiphanius, Philastrius, Pseudo- 
Tertullian, etc. are collected in FRANC. OEHLER : Corpus hcereseolo- 
gicum. Berol. 1856-61, 3 vols. They belong more to the next period. 
The Jewish and Heathen Testimonies are collected by N. LARDNER, 
1764, new ed. by Kippis, Lond. 1838. 
1. Ancient Historians. 

HEGESIPPTJS (a Jewish Christian of the middle of the second cen- 
tury) : 'TTTo/n^ara TG>V KK%7}fftaffTiKG>v trpageuv (quoted under the 
title Tf&re virofivfaara and ^vre cvyyp&fjLfjLaTa). These ecclesiastical 
Memorials are only preserved in fragments (on the martyrdom of 
James of Jerusalem, the rise of heresies, etc.) in Eusebius H. Eccl., 
collected by Grabe (Spitileg. II, 203-214), Routh (Reliqu. Sacra, 
vol. I. 209-219), and Hilgenfeld (" Zeitschrift fur wissenschaffcliche 
Theol." 1876, pp. 179 sqq.). See art. of Weizsacker in Herzog, 2nd 
ed., V. 695 ; and of Milligan in Smith & Wace, II, 875. The work 
was still extant in the 16th century, and may be discovered yet; see 
Hilgenfeld's "Zeitschrift" for 1880, p. 127. It is strongly Jewish" 
Christian, yet not Ebionite, but Catholic. 

*ETTSEBnrs (bishop of Caesarea in Palestine since 315, died 340, "the 
father of Church History," "the Christian Herodotus," confidential 
friend, adviser, and eulogist of Constantino the Great) : 'E/c^o 'iaaru$ 
laropia, from the incarnation to the defeat and death of Licinius 324. 
Chief edd. by Stephens, Paris 1544 (ed. princeps) ; Valerius (with the 
other Greek church historians), Par. 1659 ; Reading, Cambr. 1720 ; 
Zimmermann, Francof. 1822; Burton, Oxon. 1838 and 1845 (2 vols.); 
Schwegler, Tub. 1852; Ldmmer, Scaphus. 1862 (important for the 
text) ; F. A. Heinichen, Lips. 1827, second ed. improved 1868-70, 
S vols. (the most complete and useml edition of all the ficripta His* 


torica of Eus.); G, Dindorf, Lips., 1871. Several versions (German, 
French, and English) ; one by Hanmer (Cambridge? 1683, etc.) ; 
another by 7. F. Crust (an Am. Episo., London, 1842, Phil., 1860, 
included in Bagster's edition of the Greek Eccles. Historians, London, 
1847, and in Bonn's Eccles. Library)] the best with commentary by 
A. G. McGiffert (to be published by "The Christian Lit. Comp.," 
New York, 1890). 

The other historical writings of Eusebius, including his Chronicle, 
his Life of, Constantine, and his Martyrs of Palestine, are found in 
Heinichen's ed., and also in the ed. of his Opera omnia, by MIGNE, 
11 Patrol. Graeca," Par. 1857, 5 vols. Best ed. of his Chronicle, by 
ALFRED SOHONE, Berlin, "866 and 1875, 2 vols. 

Whatever may be said of the defects of Eusebius as an historical 
critic and writer, his learning and industry are unquestionable, and 
his Church History and Chronicle will always remain an invaluable 
collection of information not attainable in any other ancient author. 
The sarcastic contempt of Gibbon and charge of williul suppression 
of truth are not justified, except against his laudatory over-estimate 
of Constantine, whose splendid services to the church blinded his 
vision. For a just estimate of Eusebius see the exhaustive article of 
Bishop Lightfoot in Smith & Wace, II. 308-348. 
2. Modern Historians. 

WILLIAM CAVE (died 1713): Primitive Christianity. Lond. 4th ecL 
1682, in 3 parts. The same : Lives of the most eminent Fathers of 
" the Ghurch that flourished in the first four centuries, 1677-'83, 2 vols. ; 
revised by ed. H. Carey, Oxford, 1840, in 3 vols. Comp. also CAVE'S 
Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum historia lit&raria, a, Christo nato usque 
ad sosculum XIV; best ed. Oxford, 1740-'43, 2 vols. fol. 

* J. L. MOSHEIM : Commentarii de rebus Christianis ante Constantinum 

M. Helmst. 1753. The same in English by Vidal, 1813 sqq., 3 vols., 
and by Murdoch, New Haven, 1852, 2 vols. 

* EDWAUD GIBBON: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman 

Empire. London, 1776-'88, 6 vols. j best edd. by Mifcnan, with his 
own, Guizot's and Wenck's notes, and by William Smith, includ- 
ing the notes of Milman, etc. Reprinted, London, 1872, 8 vols., !New 
York, Harpers, 1880, in 6 vols. In Chs. 15 and 16, and throughout 
his great work, Gibbon dwells on the outside, and on the defects rather 
than the virtues of ecclesiastical Christianity, without entering into 
the heart of spiritual Christianity which continued beating through 
all ages ; but fox fullness and general accuracy of information and 
artistic representation his work is still unsurpassed. 

H. G. TZSCHIRNER: Der Fall des Heidenthums. Leipz. 1829. 

EDW. BURTON: Lectures upon the Ecclesiastical History of the first three 
Centuries. Oxf. 1833, in 3 parts (in 1 vol. 1845) He made also 
collections of the ante-Nicene testimonies to the Divinity of Christ, 
and the Holy Spirit. 

HENRY H. MILMAN : The History of Christianity from the Birth of Christ 

6 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

to the Abolition of Paganism in the Eoman Empire. Lond. 1840. 

3 vols. ; 2nd ed. 1866. " Comp. also the first book of his History oj 
Latin Christianity, 2cl ed. London and New York, 1860, in 8 vols. 

JOHN EAYE (Bishop of Lincoln, d. 1853) : Ecclesiastical History of the 

Second and Third Centuries, illustrated from the writings of Tcrtullian. 

Lond. 1845. Comp. also his books on Justin Martyr, Clement ojf 

Alex., and the Council of Nicosa (1853). 
F. D. MAURICE : Lectures on the Eccles. Hist, of the First and Second 

Cent. Cambr. 1854. 

* A. EITSCHL : Die Entstehung der alt-katholischen Kirche. Bonn, 1850 ; 

2nd ed. 1857. The second edition is partly reconstructed and more 

* E. BE PB,ESSENS (French Protestant) : Histoire de trois premiers siecles 

del'fylisechretienne. Par. J858 sqq. The same in German trans, by E. 
Fabarius, Leipz. 1862-'63, 4 vols. English transl. by Annie Harwood- 
Holmden, under the title: The Early Years of Christianity. A Com- 
prehensive History of the First Three Centuries of the Christian Church, 

4 vols. Vol. I. The Apost. Age ; vol. II. Martyrs and Apologists ; vol. 
III. Heresy and Christian Doctrine ; vol. IV. Christian Life and Prac- 
tice. London (Hodder & Stoughton), 1870 sqq., cheaper ed., 1879. 
Revised edition of the original, Paris, 1887 sqq. 

W. D. KILLED (Presbyterian) : The Ancient Church traced for the first 
three centuries. Edinb. and New York, 1859. New ed. N. Y., 18K3. 

AMBROSE MA^AHABT (R. Cath.): Triumph of the Catholic Church in the 
Early Ages. New York, 1859. 

ALVAH LAMSON (Unitarian): The Church of the First Three Centuries, 
with special reference to the doctrine of the Trinity; illustrating its 
late origin and gradual formation. Boston, 1860. 

MILO MAHAN (Episcopalian) : A Church History of the First Three centurw. 
N. York, 1860. Second ed., 1878 (enlarged). 

J. J. BLUNT : History of the Christian Church during the first three cen- 
turies. London, 1861. 

Jos. SoHWAifE (R. C.): Dogmengeschichte der vornicdnischen Zeit* 
Mtinster, 1862. 

TH. W. MOSSMAN: ffistory of the Cath. Church of J. Christ from the 
death of&t. John to the middle of the second century. Lond. 1873. 

*EBNEST RECAST : L' Hi?t,oire des origines du Christianisme. Paris, 1863- 
1882, 7 vols. The last two vols., V fylise Chrttienne, 1879, and Marc 
AurVle, 1882, belong to this period. Learned, critical, and brilliant, 
but thoroughly secular, and skeptical. 

* GERHABD UHLHORN: Der Kampfdes Christenthums mit dem Heiden- 

thum. 3d improved ed. Stuttgart, 1879. English transl. by Profs. 
Egbert C. Smyth and C. J. H. Ropes: The Conflict of Christianity, etc. 
N. York, 1879. An admirable translation of a graphic and inspiring 
account of the heroic conflict of Christianity with heathen Rome, 


*THEOD. KEIM, (d. 1879): Rom und das Christenthum. Ed. from the 
author's MSS. by If. Ziegler. Berlin, 1881. (667 pages). 

CHK. WORDSWORTH (Bishop of Lincoln) : A Church History to the Coun- 
cil of Nicwa, A. D. 325. Lond. and N. York, 1881. Anglo-Catholic. 

A. PLUMMER : The Church of the Early Fath&rs, London, 1887. 

Of the general works on Church History, those of BARONTUS, 


(the third revised ed. of vol. 1st, Tab. 1853, pp. 175-527 ; the same 
also transl. into English) should be noticed throughout on this 
period ; but all these books are partly superseded by more recent 
discoveries and discussions of special points, which will be noticed 
in the respective sections. 

2. General Character of Ante-Nic&ne Christianity. 

We now descend from the primitive apostolic church to the 
Graeco-Roman ; from the scene of creation to the work of 
preservation; from the fountain of divine revelation to the 
stream of human development; from the inspirations of the 
apostles and prophets to the productions of enlightened but 
fallible teachers. The hand of God has drawn a bold line of 
demarcation between the century of miracles and the succeeding 
ages, to show, by the abrupt transition and the striking contrast, 
the difference between the work of God and the work of man-, 
and to impress us the more deeply with the supernatural origin 
of Christianity and the incomparable value of the New Testa- 
ment. There is no other transition in history so radical and 
sudden, and yet so silent and secret. The stream of divine life 
rt in its passage from the mountain of inspiration to the valley 
of tradition is for a short time lost to our view, and seems to 
run under ground. Hence the close of the first and the begin- 
ning of the second centuries, or the age of the Apostolic Fathers 
is often regarded as a period for critical conjecture and doc- 
trinal and ecclesiastical controversy rather than for historical 

Still, notwithstanding the striking difference, the church of 
the second and third centuries is a legitimate continuation of 
that of the primitive age. While far inferior in originality, 
purity, energy, and freshness, it is distinguished for conscientious 

8 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

fidelity in preserving and propagating the sacred writings and 
traditions of the apostles, and for untiring zeal in imitating 
their holy lives amidst the greatest difficulties and dangers, when 
the religion of Christ was prohibited by law and the profession 
of it punished as a political crime. 

The second period, from the death of the apostle John to the 
end of the persecutions, or to the accession of Constantino, the 
first Christian emperor, is the classic age of the eedesia pressa, 
of heathen persecution, and of Christian martyrdom and 
heroism, of cheerful sacrifice of possessions and life itself for tho 
inheritance of heaven. It furnishes a continuous commentary 
on the Saviour's words : " Behold, I send you forth as sheep in 
the midst of wolves ; " "I came not to send peace on earth, but 
a sword." 1 No merely human religion could have stood such 
an ordeal of fire for three hundred years. The final victory of 
Christianity over Judaism and heathenism, and the mightiest 
empire of the ancient world, a victory gained without physical 
force, but by the moral power of patience and perseverance, of 
faith and love, is one of the sublimest spectacles in history, and 
one of the strongest evidences of the divinity and indestructible 
life of our religion. 

But equally sublime and significant are the intellectual and 
spiritual victories of the church in this period over the science 
and art of heathenism, and over the assaults of Gnostic and 
Ebionitic heresy, with the copious vindication and development 
of the Christian truth, which the great mental conflict with 
those open and secret enemies called forth. 

The church of this period appears poor in earthly possessions 
and honors, but rich in heavenly grace, in world-conquering 
faith, love, and hope; unpopular, even outlawed, hated, and 
persecuted, yet far more vigorous and expansive than the 
philosophies of Greece or the empire of Rome; composed 
chiefly of persons of the lower social ranks, yet attracting the 

1 Comp. Matt. 10 : 17-39 ; 5 : 10, 12; 13 : 21 ; 16 : 24 ; 20 : 22 sq. ; 1 Cor, 
15: 31; 2 Cor. 4: 10; Bom. 8: 35; Phil. 3: 10 sq.; Col. 1 : 24 sq.; 1 Pet 
2; 21. 


, noblest and deepest minds of the age, and bearing in her bosom 
fche hope of the world; "as unknown, yet well-known, as dying, 
and behold it lives ; " conquering by apparent defeat, and grow- 
ing on the blood of her martyrs ; great in deeds, greater in 
sufferings, greatest in death for the honor of Christ and the 
benefit of generations to come. 1 

The condition and manners of the Christians in this age are 
most beautifully described by the unknown author of the "Epis- 
tola ad Diognetum" in the early part of the second century. 2 
" The Christians," he says, " are not distinguished from other 
men by country, by language, nor by civil institutions. For 
they neither dwell in cities by themselves, nor use a peculiar 
tongue, nor lead a singular mode of life. They dwell in the 
Grecian or barbarian cities, as the case may be ; they follow the 
usage of the country in dress, food, and the other affairs of life. 
Yet they present a wonderful and confessedly paradoxical con- 
duct. They dwell in their own native lands, but as strangers. 
They take part in all things, as citizens ; and they suffer all 
things, as foreigners. Every foreign country is a fatherland to 
them, and every native land is a foreign. They marry, like all 
others ; they have children ; but they do not cast away their 
offspring. They have the table in common, but not wives. 
They are in the flesh, but do not live after the flesh. They 

1 Isaac Taylor, in his Ancient Christianity, which is expressly written 
against a superstitious over-valuation of the patristic age, nevertheless admits 
(vol. i. p, 37) : "Our brethren of the early church challenge our respect, as 
well as affection ; for theirs was the fervor of a steady faith in things unseen 
and eternal; theirs, often, a meek patience under the most grievous wrongs; 
theirs the courage to maintain a good profession before the frowning face of 
philosophy, of secular tyranny, and of splendid superstition; theirs was ah- 
stractedness from the world and a painful self-denial ; theirs the most arduous 
and costly labors of love ; theirs a munificence in charity, altogether without 
example ; theirs was a reverent and scrupulous care of the sacred writings ; 
and this one merit, if they had no other, is of a superlative degree, and should 
entitle them to the veneration and grateful regards of the modern church. 
How little do many readers of the Bible, nowadays, think of what it cost the 
Christians of the second and third .centuries, merely to rescue and hide the 
sacred treasures from the rage of the heathen!" 

8 0. 5 and 6 (p, 69 aq. ed. Otto. Lips. 1 1852). 

10 SECOND PEftlOD. A. D. 100-311. 

ihre upon the earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey thd 
existing laws, and excel the laws by their lives. They love all, 
and are persecuted by all. They are unknown, and yet they 
are condemned. They are killed and are made alive. They 
are poor and make many rich. They lack all things, and in all 
things abound. They are reproached, and glory in their re- 
proaches. They are calumniated, and are justified. They are 
cursed, and they bless. They receive scorn, and they give 
honor. They do good, and are punished as evil-doers* When 
punished, they rejoice, as being made alive. By the Jews they 
are attacked as aliens, and by the Greeks persecuted ; and the 
cause of the enmity their enemies cannot tell. In short, what 
the soul is in the body, the Christians are in the world. The 
soul is diffiised through all the members of the body, and the 
Christians are spread through the cities of the world. The soul 
dwells in the body, but it is not of the body ; so the Christians 
dwell in the world, but are not of the world. The soul, invisi- 
ble, keeps watch in the visible body ; so also the Christians are 
seen to live in the world, but their piety is invisible. The flesh 
hates and wars against the soul, suffering no wrong from it, but 
because it resists fleshly pleasures; and the world hates the 
Christians with no reason, but that they resist its pleasures. 
The soul loves the flesh and members, by which it is hated ; so 
the Christians love their haters. The soul is inclosed in the 
body, but holds the body together; so the Christians are de- 
tained in the world as in a prison ; but they contain the world. 
Immortal, the soul dwells in the mortal body ; so the Christians 
dwell in the corruptible, but look for incorruption in heaven. 
The soul is the better for restriction in food and drink ; and the 
Christians increase, though daily punished. This lot God has 
assigned to the Christians in the world ; and it cannot be taken 
from them." 

The community of Christians thus from the fiist felt itself, 
in distinction from Judaism and from heathenism, the salt of 
the earth, the light of the world, the city of God set on a hill, 
the immortal soul in a dying body ; and this its impression 


respecting itself was no proud conceit, but truth and, reality, 
acting in life and in death, and opening the way through hatred 
and persecution even to an outward victory over the world. 

The ante-Nicene age has been ever since the Reformation a 
battle-field between Catholic and Evangelical historians and 
polemics, and is claimed by both for their respective creeds. 
But it is a sectarian abuse of history to identify the Chris- 
tianity of this martyr period either with Catholicism, or with 
Protestantism. It is rather the common root out of which 
both have sprung, Catholicism (Greek and Eoman) first, and 
Protestantism afterwards. It is the natural transition from 
the apostolic age to the Nicene age, yet leaving behind many 
important truths of the former (especially the Pauline doctrines) 
which were to be derived and explored in future ages. We 
can trace in it the elementary forms of the Catholic creed, 
organization and worship, and also the germs of nearly all the 
corruptions of Greek and Roman Christianity. 

In its relation to the secular power, the ante-Nicene church 
is simply the continuation of the apostolic period, and has 
nothing in common either with the hierarchical, or with the 
Erastian systems. It was not opposed to the secular govern- 
ment in its proper sphere, but the secular heathenism of the 
government was opposed to Christianity. The church was alto- 
gether based upon the voluntary principle, as a self-supporting 
and self-governing body. In this respect it may be compared 
to the church in the United States, but with this essential 
difference that in America the secular government, instead of 
persecuting Christianity, recognizes and protects it by law, and 
secures to it full freedom of public worship and in all its 
activities at home and abroad. 

The theology of the second and third centuries was mainly 
apologetic against the paganism of Greece and Rome, and 
polemic against the various forms of the Gnostic heresy. In 
this conflict it brings out, with great force and freshness, the 
principal arguments . for the divine origin and character of the 
Christian religion and the outlines of the true doctrine of Christ 

12 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

and the holy trinity, as afterwards more fully developed in the 
Nicene and post-Nicene ages. 

The organization of this period may be termed primitive 
episcopacy, as distinct from the apostolic order which preceded, 
and the metropolitan and patriarchal hierarchy which succeeded 
it. In worship it forms likewise the transition from apostolic 
simplicity to the Ifturgical and ceremonial splendor of full-grown 

The first half of the second century is comparatively veiled 
in obscurity, although considerable light has been shed over it 
by recent discoveries and investigations. After the death of 
John only a few witnesses remain to testify of the wonders of 
the apostolic days, and their writings are few in number, short 
in compass and partly of doubtful origin : a volume of letters and 
historical fragments, accounts of martyrdom, the pleadings of 
two or three apologists; to which must be added the rude 
epitaphs, faded pictures, and broken sculptures of the subter- 
ranean church in the catacombs. The men of Ubat generation 
were more skilled in acting out Christianity in life and death, 
than in its literary defence. After the intense commotion of 
the apostolic age there was a breathing spell, a season of unpre- 
tending but fruitful preparation for a new productive epoch. 
But the soil of heathenism had been broken up, and the new 
seed planted by the hands of the apostles gradually took root. 

Then came the great literary conflict of the apologists and 
doctrinal polemics in the second half of the same century; and 
towards the middle of the third the theological schools of 
Alexandria, and northern Africa, laying the foundation the one 
for the theology of the Greek, the other for that of the Latin 
church. At the beginning of the fourth century the church 
east and west was already so well consolidated in doctrine and 
discipline that it easily survived the shock of the last and most 
terrible persecution, and could enter upon the fruits of its long- 
continued sufferings and take the reins of government in the old 
Konm empire. 



3. Literature. 


No statistics or accurate statements, but only scattered hints in 

FLINT (107) : Ep. x. 96 sq. (the letter to Trajan). IGNATIUS (about 110) : 
Ad Magnes. c. 10. Ep. ad Dwgn. (about 120) c. 6. 

JUSTIN MARTTR (about 140) : Dial. 117 ; Apol I 53. 

IEENAEUS (about 170) : Adv. Haer. L 10 ; HI. 3, 4 ; v. 20, eta 

TERTTJLUAN (about 200): Apol. I 21, 37, 41* 42; Ad Nat. I 7; Ad 
Scap. c. 2, 5 ; Adv. Jud. 7, 12, 13. 

ORIGEN (d. 254): Contr. Cds. I. 7, 27; II. 13, 46; TTT 10, 30; De 
Princ. L IV. o, 1, 8 2 ; Com. in Matth. p. 857, ed. Delarue. 

EUSEBIUS (d. 340) : Hist. Eccl EL 1 ; v; 1 ; vii, 1 ; viii. 1, also books k. 
and x. RUFINUS : Hist. Eodes. ix. 6. 

AUGUSTIN (d. 430) : De Oivitate Dei. Eng. translation by M* Dads, Edin- 
burgh, 1871 ; new ed. (in Schaff 's 1 1 Nicene and Post-Nicene Library ' '), 
N. York, 1887. 


MICH. LE QUIEN (a learned Dominican, d. 1733) : Oriens Christianus. 

Par. 1740. 3 yols. fol. A complete ecclesiastical geography of the 

East, divided into the four patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexan- 
dria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. 

MOSHEIM: Historical Commentaries, etc. (ed. Murdock) I. 25&-290. 
GIBBON : Tfic Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Chap. xv. 
A. BEUGKOT : JUstoire de la destruction du paganisme en Occident. Paris 

1835, 2 vols. Crowned by the Academic des inscriptions ei beHes* 


CHASTEL: Hlstoire de la destruction du paganisme dans T 

empire d' Orient. Paris 1850. Prize essay of the Academie. 

History of the Christian Relig. and Church (trans, of Torrey), 

L 68-79. 
WlLTSCH: Handbuch der Idrchl. Geographic u. Statistik. Berlin 1846. 

I. p. 32 sqq. 
CHS. MERIYALE : Conversion of the Roman Empire (Boyle Lectures for 

1864), republ. N. York 1865. Comp. also his History of the Romans 

under the l&mpire, which goes from Julius Csesar to Marcus Aurelius, 

Lond. & N. York, 7 vols. 
EDWARD A. FREEMAN: The Historical Geography of Europe, Lond. & 

K York 1881, 2 vols. (vol. L chs. II. & III. pp. 18-71.) 
Comp. FRIEDLINDER, Sittengesch. Roms. III. 517 sqq.; and ItarAN! 

Marc-Aurtte. Paris 1882, ch. xxv. pp. 447-464 (Statistigue ei ea> 

tension geographique du Christianisme). 
V. SCHULTZE : Geschwhte des Untergangs des griech^bmiscTwn,. Heiden- 

thums. Jena, 1887. 


14 SECOND PEBIOD. A.D. 100-31L 

4. Hindrances and Helps. 

For the first three centuries Christianity was placed in the 
most unfavorable circumstances, that it might display its moral 
power, and gain its victory over the world by spiritual weapons 
alone. Until the reign of Constantine it had not even a legal 
existence in the Roman empire, but was first ignored as a 
Jewish sect, then slandered, proscribed, and persecuted, as a 
treasonable innovation, and the adoption of it made punishable 
with confiscation and death. Besides, it offered not the slightest 
favor, as Mohammedanism afterwards did, to the corrupt in- 
clinations of the heart, but against the current ideas of Jews 
and heathen it so presented its inexorable demand of repent- 
ance and conversion, renunciation of self and the world, that 
more, according to Tertullian, were kept out of the new sect by 
love of pleasure than by love of life. The Jewish origin of 
Christianity also, and the poverty and obscurity of a majority 
of its professors particularly offended the pride of the Greeks 
and Romans. Celsus, exaggerating this fact, and ignoring the 
many exceptions, scoffingly remarked, that " weavers, cobblers, 
and fullers, the most illiterate persons" preached the "irrational 
feith," and knew how to commend it especially "to women and 

But in spite of these extraordinary difficulties Christianity 
made a progress which furnished striking evidence of its divine 
origin and adaptation to the deeper wants of man, and was 
employed as such by Irenseus, Justin, Tertullian, and other 
fathers of that day. Nay, the very hindrances became, in the 
hands of Providence, means of promotion. Persecution led to 
martyrdom, and martyrdom had not terrors alone, but also attrac- 
tions, and stimulated the noblest and most unselfish form of am- 
bition. Every genuine martyr was a living proof of the truth 
and holiness of the Christian religion. Tertullian could exclaim 
to the heathen : " All your ingenious cruelties can accomplish 
nothing; they are only a lure to this sect. Our number in- 


creases the more you destroy us. The blood of the Christians 
is their seed," The moral earnestness of the Christians con- 
trasted powerfully with the prevailing corruption of the age, 
and while it repelled the frivolous and voluptuous, it could not 
fail to impress most strongly the deepest and noblest minds. 
The predilection of the poor and oppressed for the gospel 
attested its comforting and redeeming power. But others also, 
though not many, from the higher and educated classes, were 
from the first attracted to the new religion; such men as 
Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathsea, the apostle Paul, the pro- 
consul Sergius Paulus, Dionysius of Athens, Erastus of Corinth, 
and some members of the imperial household. Among the 
sufferers in Domitian's persecution were his own near kins- 
woman Flavia Domitilla and her husband Flavius Clemens. 
In the oldest part of the Catacomb of Callistus, which is named 
after St. Lucina, members of the illustrious gens Pomponia, and 
perhaps also of the Flavian house, are interred. The se- 
natorial and equestrian orders furnished several converts open 
or concealed. Pliny laments, that in Asia Minor men of every 
rank (omnis ordinis) go over to the Christians. Tertullian 
asserts that the tenth part of Carthage, and among them 
senators and ladies of the noblest descent and the nearest 
relatives of the proconsul of Africa professed Christianity. 
The numerous church fathers from the middle of the second 
century, a Justin Martyr, Irenseus, Hippolytus, Clement, 
Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, excelled, or at least equalled in 
talent and culture, their most eminent heathen contemporaries. 

Nor was this progress confined to any particular localities. 
It extended alike over all parts of the empire. "We are a 
people of yesterday," says Tertullian in his Apology, " and yet 
we have filled every place belonging to you cities, islands, 
castles, towns, assemblies, your very camp, your tribes, com- 
panies, palace, senate, forum! We leave you your temples 
only. We can count your armies; our numbers in a single 
province will be greater." All these facts expose the injustice 
of the odious charge of Celsus, repeated by a modern sceptic, 

16 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

that the new sect was almost entirely composed of the dregs of 
the populace of peasants and mechanics, of boys and women, 
of beggars and slaves. 

5.- Causes of the Success of Christianity. 

The chief positive cause of the rapid spread and ultimate 
triumph of Christianity is to be found in its own absolute 
intrinsic worth, as the universal religion of salvation, and in 
the perfect teaching and example of its divine-human Founder, 
who proves himself to every believing heart a Saviour from 
sin and a giver of eternal life, y Christianity is adapted to all 
classes, conditions, and relations among men, to all nationalities 
and races, to all grades of culture, to every soul that longs for 
redemption from sin, and for holiness of life. | Its value could be 
seen in the tru^h and self-evidencing power of its doctrines ; in. 
the purity and sublimity of its precepts; in its - regenerating 
and sanctifying effects on heart and life; in the elevation of 
woman and of home life over which she presides ; in the 
amelioration of the condition of the poor and suffering ; in the 
faith, the brotherly love, the beneficence, and the triumphant 
death of its confessors. 

To this internal moral and spiritual testimony were added 
the powerful outward proof of its divine origin in the prophe- 
cies and types of the Old Testament, so strikingly fulfilled in 
the New; and finally, the testimony of the 'miracles, which, 
according to the express statements of Quadratus, Justin 
Martyr, Irenseus, Tertullian, Origen, and others, continued in 
this period to accompany the preaching of missionaries from 
time to time, for the conversion of the heathen. 

Particularly favorable outward circumstances were the ex- 
tent, order, and unity of the Roman empire, and the prevalence 
of the Greek language and culture. 

In addition to these positive causes, Christianity had a 
powerful negative advantage in the hopeless condition of the 
Jewish and heathen world. Since the fearful judgment of the 
destruction of Jerusalem, Judaism wandered restless and 


accursed, without national existence. Heathenism outwardly- 
held sway, but was inwardly rotten and in process of inevitable 
decay. The popular religion and public morality were under- 
mined by a sceptical and materialistic philosophy; Grecian 
science and art had lost their creative energy; the Eoman 
empire rested only on the power of the sword and of temporal 
interests ; the moral bonds of society were sundered ; unbounded 
avarice and vice of every kind, even by the confession of a 
Seneca and a Tacitus, reigned in Eome and in the provinces, 
from the throne to the hovel. Virtuous emperors, like 
Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, were the exception, not 
tho rule, and could not prevent the progress of moral decay. 
Nothing, that classic antiquity in its fairest days had produced, 
could heal the fatal wounds of the age, or even give transient 
relief. ' The only star of hope in the gathering night was the 
young, the fresh, the dauntless religion of Jesus, fearless of 
death, strong in faith, glowing with love, and destined to com- 
mend itself more and more to all reflecting minds as the only 
living religion of the present and the future. While the world 
was continually agitated by wars, and revolutions, and public 
calamities, while systems of philosophy, and dynasties were 
rising and passing away, the new religion, in spite of fearful 
opposition from without and danger from within, was silently 
and steadily progressing with the irresistible force of truth, and 
worked itself gradually into the very bone and blood of the 


" Christ appeared," says the great Augustin, "to the men of 
the decrepit, decaying world, that while all around them was 
withering away, they might through Him receive new, youthful 


GIBBON in his famous fifteenth chapter, traces the rapid progress of 
Christianity in the Eoman empire to five causes: the zeal of the early 
Christians, the belief in future rewards and punishment, the power of 
miracles, the austere (pure) morals -of the Christian, and the compact 
church organization. Bat these causes are themselves the effects of a 
Vol. II. 2. 

1$ SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

cause which Gibbon ignores, namely, the divine truth of Christianity 
the perfection of Christ's teaching and Christ's example. See the 
strictures of Dr. John Henry Newman, Grammar of Assent, 445 sq., and 
Dr. George P. Fisher, The Beginnings of Christianity, p. 543 sqq. " The 
zeal" [of the early Christians], says Fisher, "was zeal for a person, and 
for a cause identified with Him ; the belief in the future life sprang out 
of faith in Him who had died and risen again, and ascended to Heaven; 
the miraculous powers of the early disciples were consciously connected 
with the same source ; the purification of morals, and the fraternal unity, 
which lay at the basis of ecclesiastical association among the early 
Christians, were likewise the fruit of their relation to Christ, and their 
common love to Him. The victory of Christianity in the Eoman world 
was the victory of Christ, who was lifted up that He might draw all men 
unto Him.' 1 

LECKY (Hist ofEurop. Morals, I. 412) goes deeper than Gibbon, and 
accounts for the success of early Christianity by its intrinsic excellency 
and remarkable adaptation to the wants of the times in the old Roman 
empire. "In the midst of this movement," he says, "Christianity 
gained its ascendancy, and we can be at no loss to discover the cause 
of its triumph. No other religion, under such circumstances, had ever 
combined so many distinct elements of power and attraction. Unlike 
the Jewish religion, it was bound by no local ties, and was equally 
adapted for every nation and for every class. Unlike Stoicism, it 
appealed in the strongest manner to the affections, and offered all the 
charm of a sympathetic worship. Unlike the Egyptian religion, it 
united with its distinctive teaching a pure and noble system of ethics, 
and proved itself capable of realizing it in action. It proclaimed, amid 
a vast movement of social and national amalgamation, the universal 
brotherhood of mankind. Amid the softening influence of philosophy 
and civilization, it taught the supreme sanctity of love. To the slave, 
who had never before exercised so large an influence over Roman 
religious life, it was the religion of the suffering and the oppressed. To 
the philosopher it was at once the echo of the highest ethics of the later 
Stoics, and the expansion of the best teaching of the school of Plato. 
To a world thirsting for prodigy, it offered a history replete with wonders 
more strange than those of Apollonius ; while the Jew and the Chaldean 
could scarcely rival its exorcists, and the legends of continual miracles 
circulated among its followers. To a world deeply conscious of political 
dissolution, and prying eagerly and anxiously into the future, it pro- 
claimed with a thrilling power the immediate destruction of the globe 
the glory of all its friends, and the damnation of all its foes. To a world 
that had grown very weary gazing on the cold passionless grandeur 
which Cato realized, and which Lucan sung, it presented an ideal of 
compassion and of love an ideal destined for centuries to draw around 
it all that was greatest, as well aS all that was noblest upon earth a 
Teacher who could weep by the sepulchre of His friend, who was 


touched with the feeling of our infirmities. To a world, in fine, dis- 
tracted by hostile creeds and colliding philosophies, it taught its 
doctrines, not as a human speculation, but as a Divine revelation, 
authenticated much less by reason than by faith. f With the heart man 
believeth unto righteousness;' 'He that doeth the will of my Father 
will know the doctrine, whether it be of God ; ' ' Unless you believe you 
cannot understand;' ' A heart naturally Christian;' 'The heart makes 
the theologian,' are the phrases which best express the first action of 
Christianity upon the world. Like all great religions, it was more con- 
cerned with modes of feeling than with modes of thought. The chief 
cause of its success was the congruity of its teaching with the spiritual 
nature of mankind. It was because it was true of the moral sentiments 
of the age, because it represented faithfully the supreme type of excel- 
lence to which men were then tending, because it corresponded with 
their religious wants, aims, and emotions, because the whole spiritual 
being could then expand and expatiate under its influence, that it 
planted its roots so deeply in the hearts of men." 

MERIVALE (Convers. of the Rom. Emp., Preface) traces the conversion 
of the Roman empire chiefly to four causes : 1) the external evidence of 
the apparent fulfilment of recorded prophecy and miracles to the truth 
of Christianity ; 2) the internal evidence of satisfying the acknowledged 
need of a redeemer and sanctifier; 3) the goodness and holiness mani- 
fested in the lives and deaths of the primitive believers ; 4) the temporal 
success of Christianity under Constantine, which " turned the mass of 
mankind, as with a sweeping revolution, to the rising sun of revealed 
truth in Christ Jesus." 

RENAN discusses the reasons for the victory of Christianity in the 31st 
chapter of his Marc-Aurlle (Paris 1882), pp. 561-588. He attributes it 
chiefly "to the new discipline of life/' and "the moral reform," which 
the world required, which neither philosophy nor any of the established 
religions could give. The Jews indeed rose high above the corruptions 
of the times. " Gloire eternelle et unique, qui doitfaire oublier Hen des 
folios et des violences ! Les Juifs sont les r&wlutionnaires du \er et du 2e 
siecle de noire 'ere.' 9 They gave to the world Christianity. "Les popula- 
tions se pr&cipitbrent, par une sorte du mouvement instinctif, dans une secte 
qui satis/await leur aspirations les plus intimes et ouvrait des esperances 
infinies." Renan makes much account of the belief in immortality 
and the offer of complete pardon to every sinner, as allurements to 
Christianity ; and, like Gibbon, he ignores its real power as a religion of 
salvation. This accounts for its success not only in the old Roman 
empire, but in every country and nation where it has found a home. 

6. Means of Propagation. 

It is a remarkable fact that after the days of the Apostles no 
names of great missionaries are mentioned till the opening of 

20 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

the middle ages, when the conversion of nations was effected or 
introduced by a few individuals as St. Patrick in Ireland, St 
Columba in Scotland, St Augustine in England, St. Boniface in 
Germany, St. Ansgar in Scandinavia, St. Cyril and Methodiui 
among the Slavonic races. There were no missionary societies 
no missionary institutions, no organized efforts in the ante 
Nicene age ; and yet in less than 300 years from the death ol 
St. John the whole population of the Roman empire which thej 
represented the civilized world was nominally christianized. 

To understand this astonishing fact, we must remember that 
the foundation was laid strong and deep by the apostles them- 
selves. The seed scattered by them from Jerusalem to Rome, 
and fertilized by their blood, sprung up as a bountiful harvest. 
The word of our Lord was again fulfilled on a larger scale : 
"One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that 
whereon ye have not labored : otht rs have labored, and ye are 
entered into their labor" (John 4 : 38). 

Christianity once established was its own best missionary. It 
grew naturally from within. It attracted people by its very 
presence. It was a light shining in darkness and illuminating 
the darkness. And while there were no professional mission- 
aries devoting their whole life to this specific work, every 
congregation was a missionary society, and every Christian 
believer a missionary, inflamed by the love of Christ to convert 
his fellow-men. The example had been set by Jerusalem and 
Antioch, and by those brethren who, after the martyrdom of 
Stephen, " were scattered abroad and went about preaching the 
Word." 1 Justin Martyr was converted by a venerable old man 
whom he met walking on the shore of the sea. " Every Chris- 
tian laborer," says Tertullian, "both finds out God and 
manifests him, though Plato affirms that it is not easy to dis- 
cover the Creator, and difficult when He is found to make him 
known to all" Celsus scoffingly remarks that fullers and 
workers in wool and leather, rustic and ignorant persons, were 

: 4; 11: 19. 


the most zealous propagators of Christianity, and brought it 
first to women and children. Women and slaves introduced it 
into the home-circle. It is the glory of the gospel that it is 
preached to the poor and by the poor to make them rich. 
Origen informs us that the city churches sent their missionaries 
to the villages. The seed grew up while men slept, and 
brought forth fruit, first the bla&e, then the ear, after that the 
full corn in the ear. Every Christian told his neighbor, the 
laborer to his fellow-laborer, the slave to his fellow-slave, the 
servant to his master and mistress, the story of his conversion, 
as a mariner tells the story of the rescue from shipwreck. 

The gospel was propagated chiefly by living preaching and 
by personal intercourse ; to a considerable extent also through 
the sacred Scriptures, which were early propagated and trans- 
lated into various tongues, the Latin (North African and Italian), 
the Syriac (the Curetonian and the Pesbito), and the Egyptian (in 
three dialects, the Memphitic, the Thebaic, and the Bashmuric). 
Communication among the different parts of the Roman empire 
from Damascus to Britain was comparatively easy and safe. 
The highways built for commerce and for the Roman legions, 
served also the messengers of peace and the silent conquests of 
the cross. Commerce itself at that time, as well as now, was a 
powerful agency in carrying the gospel and the seeds of Chris- 
tian civilization to the remotest parts of the Roman empire. 

The particular mode, as well as the precise time, of the intro- 
duction of Christianity into the several countries during this 
period is for the most part uncertain, and we know not much 
more than the fact itself* No doubt much more was done by 
the apostles and their immediate disciples, than the New Testa- 
ment informs us of. But on the other hand the mediaeval 
tradition assigns an apostolic origin to many national and local 
churches, which cannot have arisen before the second or third 
century. Even Joseph of Arimathsea, Nicodemus, Dionysius 
the Areopagite, Laza-rus, Martha and Mary were turned by the 
legend into missionaries to foreign lands. 

2 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

7. Extent of Christianity in the Roman Empire. 

Justin Martyr says, about the middle of the second century : 
lt There is no people, Greek or barbarian, or of any other race, 
by whatsoever appellation or manners they may be distinguished, 
however ignorant of arts or agriculture, whether they dwell in 
tents or wander about in covered wigons among whom 
prayers and thanksgivings are not offered in the name of the 
crucified Jesus to the Father and Creator of all things." Half 
a century later, Tertullian addresses the heathen defiantly: 
" "We are but of yesterday, and yet we already fill your cities, 
islands, camps, your palace, senate and forum ; we have left to 
you only your temples." 1 These, and similar passages of 
Irenseus and Arnobius, are evidently rhetorical exaggerations. 
Origen is more cautious and moderate in his statements. But 
it may be fairly asserted, that about the end of the third century 
the name of Christ was known, revered, and persecuted in 
every province and every city of the empire. Maximian, in 
one of his edicts, says that "almost all" had abandoned the 
worship of their ancestors for the new s$ct. 

In the absence of statistics, the number of the Christians 
must be purely a matter of conjecture. In all probability it 
amounted at the close of the third and the beginning of the 
fourth century to nearly one-tenth or one-twelfth of the subjects 
of Eome, that is to about ten millions of souls. 

But the fact, that the Christians were a closely united body, 
fresh, vigorous, hopeful, and daily increasing, while the heathen 
were for the most part a loose aggregation, daily diminishing, 
made the true prospective strength of the church much greater. 

The propagation of Christianity among the barbarians in the 
provinces of Asia and the north-west of Europe beyond the 

lt 'Sola vdbis rdinquimus templa" Apol c. 37. Long before Tertullian 
the heathen Pliny, in his famous letter to Trajan (Epp. x. 97) had spoken of 
** desokta templet" and " sacra sokmtnaa diu int&rmissa" in consequence of the 
spread of the Christian superstition throughout the cities and villages of ASIA 


Roman empire, was at first, of course, too remote from the cur- 
1 rent of history to be of any great immediate importance. But 
it prepared the way for the civilization of those regions, and 
their subsequent position in the world. 


Gibbon and Friedlander (III. 531) estimate the number of Christians 
at the accession of Constantine (306) probably too low at one-twentieth ; 
Matter and Robertson too high at one-fifth of his subjects. Some older 
writers, misled by the hyperbolical statements of the early Apologists, 
even represent the Christians as having at least equalled if not exceeded 
the number of the heathen worshippers in the empire. In this case 
common prudence would have dictated a policy of toleration long be- 
fore Constantine. Mosheim, in his Hist. Commentaries, etc. (Murdock's 
translation I. p. 274 sqq.) discusses at length the number of Christians in 
the second century without arriving at definite conclusions. Chastel 
estimates the number at the time of Constantine at -^ in the West, -^ in 
the East, ^ on an average (Hist, de la destruct. du paganism^ p. 36). 
According to Chrysostom, the Christian population of Antipch in his day 
(380) was about 100,000, or one-half of the whole. 

8. Christianity in Asia. 

Asia was the cradle of Christianity, as it was of humanity 
and civilization. The apostles themselves had spread the new 
religion over Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor. According to 
the younger Pliny, under Trajan, the temples of the gods in 
Asia Minor were almost forsaken, and animals of sacrifice found 
hardly any purchasers. In the second century Christianity 
penetrated to Edessa in Mesopotamia, and some distance into 
Persia, Media, Bactria, and Parthia; and in the third, into 
Armenia and Arabia. Paul himself had, indeed, spent three 
years in Arabia a but probably in contemplative retirement, pre- 
paring for his apostolic ministry. There is a legend, that the 
apostles Thomas and Bartholomew carried the gospel to India. 
But a more credible statement is, that the Christian teacher 
Pantsenus of Alexandria journeyed to that country about 190, 
and that in the fourth century churches were found there. 

The transfer of the seat of power from Rome to Con- 
stantinople, and the founding of the East Roman empire under 
Constantine I. gave to Asia Minor, and especially to Constan' 

24 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

tinople, a commanding importance in the history of the Church 
for several centuries. The seven (Ecumenical Councils from 
325 to 787 were all held in that city or its neighborhood, and 
the doctrinal controversies on the Trinity and the person of 
Christ were carried on chiefly in Asia Minor, Syria, and -Egypt 
In the mysterious providence of God those lands of the Bible 
and the early church have been conquered by the prophet of 
Mecca, the Bible replaced by the Koran, and the Greek church 
reduced to a condition of bondage and stagnation; but tho 
time is not far distant when the East will be regenerated by 
the undying spirit of Christianity. A peaceful crusade of 
devoted missionaries preaching the pure gospel and leading 
holy lives will reconquer the holy land and settle the Eastern 


9. Christianity in Egypt. 

In Africa Christianity gained firm foothold first in Egypt, 
and there probably as early as the apostolic age. The land of 
the Pharaohs, of the pyramids and sphinxes, of temples and 
tombs, of fderoglyphics and mummies, of sacred bulls and 
crocodiles, of despotism and slavery, is closely interwoven with 
sacred history from the patriarchal times, and even imbedded in 
the Decalogue as " the house of bondage." It was the home 
of Joseph and his brethren, and the cradle of Israel. In 
Egypt the Jewish Scriptures were translated more than two 
hundred years before our era, and this Greek version used even 
by Christ and the apostles, spread Hebrew ideas throughout the 
Roman world, and is the mother of the peculiar idiom of the 
New Testament. Alexandria was full of Jews, the literary as 
well as commercial centre of the East, and the connecting link 
between the East and the West. There the largest libraries 
were collected ; there the Jewish mind came into close contact 
with the Greek, and the religion of Moses with the philosophy 
of Plato and Aristotle. There Philo wrote, while Christ taught 
in Jerusalem and Galilee, and his works were destined to exert 
a great influence on Christian exegesis through the Alexandrian 


Mark, the evangelist, according to ancient tradition, laid the 

flndation of the church of Alexandria. The Copts in old 
-Cairo, the Babylon of Egypt, claim this to be the place from 
which Peter wrote his first epistle (5 : 13) ; but he must mean 
either the Babylon on the Euphrates, or the mystic Babylon of 
Rome. Eusebius names, as the first bishops of Alexandria, 
Annianos (A. D. 62-85), Abilios (to 98), and Kerdon (to 110). 
This see naturally grew up to metropolitan and patriarchal im- 
portance and dignity. As early as the second century a theologi- 
cal school flourished in Alexandria, in which Clement and 
Origen taught as pioneers in biblical learning and Christian 
philosophy. From Lower Egypt the gospel spread to Middle 
and Upper Egypt and the adjacent provinces, perhaps (in the 
fourth century) as far as Nubia, Ethiopia, and Abyssinia. At 
a council of Alexandria in the year 235, twenty bishops were 
present from the different parts of the land of the Nile. 

During the fourth century Egypt gave to the church the 
Arian heresy, the Athauasian orthodoxy, and the monastic 
piety of St. Antony and St. Pachomius, which spread with 
irresistible force over Christendom. 

The theological literature of Egypt was chiefly Greek. Most 
of the early manuscripts of the Greek Scriptures including 
probably the invaluable Sinaitic and Vatican MSS. were writ- 
ten in Alexandria. But already in the second century the 
Scriptures were translated into the vernacular language, in 
three different dialects. What remains of these versions is of 
considerable weight in ascertaining the earliest text of the Greek 

The Christian Egyptians are the descendants of the 
Pharaonic Egyptians, but largely mixed with negro and Arab 
blood, Christianity never fully penetrated the nation, and was 
almost swept away by the Mohammedan conquest under the 
Caliph Omar (640), who burned the magnificent libraries of 
Alexandria under the plea that if the books agreed with the 
Koran, they were useless, if not, they were pernicious and fit 
for destruction. Since that time Egypt almost disappears from 

26 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311 

church history, arid is still groaning, a house of bondage undei 
new masters. The great mass of the people are Moslems, but 
the Copts about half a million of five and a half millions 
perpetuate the nominal Christianity of their ancestors, and form 
a mission field for the more active churches of the West. 

10. Christianity in North Africa. 

B6TTIGER : Gesehichte der Carthager. Berlin, 1827. 

MOVEES : Die Phomzier. 1840-56, 4 vols. (A standard work.) 

TH. MOMMSEN: Row. Gesehichte, 1. 489 sqq. (Book III. chs. 1-7, 5th ed.) 

N. DAVIS : Carthage and her Remains. London & K York, 1861. 

R. BOSWORTH SMITH ; Carthage and the Carthaginians. Lond. 2nd ed. 

1879. By the same : Rome and Carthage. N. York, 1880. 
OTTO MELTZER : Gesehichte der Karthager. Berlin, vol. 1. 1879. 

These books treat of the secular history of the ancient Cartha- 

g'nians, but help to understand the situation and antecedents. 
JULIUS LLOYD; The North African Church. London, 1880, Comes 

down to the Moslem Conquest. 

The inhabitants of the provinces of Northern Africa were of 
Semitic origin, with a language similar to the Hebrew, but 
became Latinized in customs, laws, and language under the 
Roman rule. The church in that region therefore belongs to 
Latin Christianity, and plays a leading part in its early history. 

The Phoenicians, a remnant of the Canaanitcs, were the 
English of ancient history. They carried on the commerce of 
the world ; while the Israelites prepared the religion, and the 
Greeks the civilization of the world. Three small nations, in 
small countries, accomplished a more important work than the 
colossal empires of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia, or even Rome. 
Occupying a narrow strip of territory on the Syrian coaflt, 
between Mount Lebanon and the sea, the Phoenicians sent their 
merchant vessels from Tyre and Sidon to all parts of the old 
world from India to the Baltic, rounded the Cape of Good 
Hope two thousand years before Yasco de Gama, and brought 
back sandal wood from Malabar, apices from Arabia, ostrich 
plumes from Nubia, silver from Spain, gold from the Niger, 
iron from Elba, tin from England, and amber from the Baltic* 


Tlhey furnished Solomon with cedars from Lebanon, and helped 
hwtt to build his palace and the temple. They founded on the 
northernmost coast of Africa, more than eight hundred years 
before Christ, the colony of Carthage. 1 From that favorable 
position they acquired the control over the northern coast of 
Africa from the pillars of Hercules to the Great Syrtes, over 
Southern Spain, the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, and the 
whole Mediterranean sea. Hence the inevitable rivalry between 
Borne' and Carthage, divided only by three days' sail ; hence 
the three Punic wars which, in spite of the brilliant military 
genius of Hannibal, ended in the utter destruction of the capital 
of North Africa (B. c. 146). 2 " Delenda est C^thago," was 
the narrow and cruel policy of the elder Cato. But under 
Augustus, who carried out the wiser plan of Julius Csesar, there 
arose a new Carthage on the ruins of the old, and became a 
rich and prosperous city, first heathen, then Christian, until it 
was captured by the barbarous Vandals (A. D. 439), ?nd finally 
destroyed by a race cognate to its original founders, the Mo- 
hammedan Arabs (647). Since that time "a mournful and 
solitary silence " once more brooded over its ruins. 8 

Christianity reached proconsular Africa in the second, per- 
haps already at the close of the first century, we do not know 
when and how. There was constant intercourse with Italy. It 
spread very rapidly over the fertile fields and burning sands of 
Mauritania and Numidia. Cyprian could assemble in 258 a 

1 The Phoenician or Punic name is Karthada, the QneekEarchedon (Kapxqd&>\ 
the Latin Carthago. It means New City (Neapolis). The word Kereth or 
Cfarth enters also into the names of other cities of Phoenician origin, as Oirta 
m I'lanwdia. 

2 S-23 the masterly comparison of Kome and Carthage by Mommsen, Book 
III. ch. 1. (vol. I. 506), of the destruction of Carthage in Book IV. ch. 1. (vol. 
II. 22 sqq.) 

8 On the ruins of Carthage see the descriptions of ET. Davis and B. Smith ( Eor/ie 
and Carthage, ch. xx. 263-291). The recent conquest of Tunis by France 
(1881) gives new interest to the past of that country, and opens a new chapter 
for its future. Smith describes Tunis as the most Oriental of Oriental towns, 
with a gorgeous mixture of races Arabs, Turks, Moors, and Negroes held 
together by the religion of Islam. 

28 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

synod of eighty-seven bishops, and in 308 the 

Donatists held a council of two hundred and seventy bishops' at 

Carthage. The dioceses, of course, were small in those days. 

The oldest Latin translation of the Bible, miscalled " Itala" 
(the basis of Jerome's "Vulgata"), was made probably in 
Africa and for Africa, not in Rome and for Rome, where at 
that time the Greek language prevailed among Christians, 
Latin theology, too, was not born in Rome, but in Carthage. 
Tertullian is its father. Minutius Felix, Arnobius, and Cyprian 
bear witness to the activity and prosperity of African Chris- 
tianity and theology in the third century. It reached its high- 
est perfection during the first quarter of the fifth century in the 
sublime intellect and burning heart of St. Augustin, the greatest 
among the fathers, but soon after his death (430) it was buried 
first beneath the Yandal barbarism, and in the seventh century 
by the Mohammedan conquest. Yet his writings led Christian 
thought in the Latin church throughout the dark ages, stimu- 
lated the Reformers, and are a vital force to this day. 

11. Christianity in Europe. 
" Westward the course of Empire takes its way." 

This law of history is also the law of Christianity. From 
Jerusalem to Rome was the march of the apostolic church. 
Further and further West has been the progress of missions 
ever since. 

The church of ROME was by far the most important one for 
all the West. According to Eusebius, it had in the middle of 
the third century one bishop, forty-six presbyters, seven deacons 
with as many sub-deacons, forty-two acolyths, fifty readers, 
exorcists, and door-keepers, and fifteen hundred widows and 
poor persons under its care. From this we might estimate the 
number of members at some fifty or sixty thousand, i. e. about 
one-twentieth of the population of the city, which cannot be 
accurately determined indeed, but must have exceeded one mil- 
lion during the reign of the Antonines. 1 The strength of Chris- 

1 Gibbon, in his thirty-first chapter, and Milman estimate the population of 


tianity in Rome is also confirmed by the enormous extent of the 
catacombs where the Christians were buried. 

From Rome the church spread to all the cities of ITALY. The 
first Roman provincial synod, of which we have information, 
numbered twelve bishops under the presidency of Telesphorus 
(142-154). In the middle of the third century (255) Cornelius 
of Rome held a council of sixty bishops. 

The persecution of the year 177 shows the church already- 
planted in the south of GAUL in the second century. Christianity 
came hither probably from the East ; for the churches of Lyons 
and Vienne were intimately connected with those of Asia Minor, 
to which they sent a report of the persecution, and Irenseus, 
bishop of Lyons, was a disciple of Polycarp of Smyrna. Gre- 
gory of Tours states, that in the middle of the third century 
seven missionaries were sent from Rome to Gaul. One of these, 
Dionysius, founded the first church of Paris, died a martyr at 
Montmartre, and became the patron saint of France. Popular 
superstition afterwards confounded him with Dionysius the 
Areopagite, who was converted by Paul at Athens. 

SPAIN probably became acquainted with Christianity likewise 
in the second century, though no clear traces of churches and 
bishops there meet us till the middle of the third. The council 
of Elvira in 306 numbered nineteen bishops. The apostle 
1 Paul once formed the plan of a missionary journey to Spain, 
and according to Clement of Rome he preached there, if we 
understand that country to be meant by " the limit of the West," 
to which he says that Paul carried the gospel. 1 But there is no 
trace of his labors in Spain on record. The legend, in defiance 
of all chronology, derives Christianity- in that country from James 

Kome at 1,200,000 ; Hoeck (on the basis of the Monumentum Ancyranum), 
Zumpt and Howson at two millions; Bunsen somewhat lower; while Bureau 
de la Malle tries to reduce it to half a million, c n the ground that the walls of 
Servius Tullius occupied an area only one-fifth of that of Paris. But these 
walls no longer marked the limits of the city since its reconstruction after the 
conflagration under Nero, and the suburbs stretched to an unlimited extent 
into the country. Comp. vol. I. p. 359. 

- 15 : 24; Clem. B. Ad Cor. c. 5 (TO 

30 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

the Elder, who was executed in Jerusalem in 44, and is said to 
he buried at Campostella, the famous place of pilgrimage, 
where his bones were first discovered under Alphonso II., to- 
wards the close of the eighth century. 1 

"When Irenseus speaks of the preaching of the gospel among 
the GERMANS and other barbarians, who, " without paper and 
ink, have salvation written in their hearts by the Holy Spirit," 
he can refer only to the parts of Germany belonging to the 
Roman empire (Germania tisrhenana). 

According to Tertullian BRITAIN also was brought under the 
power of the cross towards the end of the second century. The 
Celtic church existed in England, Ireland, and Scotland, inde- 
pendently of Rome, long before the conversion of the Anglo- 
saxons by the Roman mission of Augustine; it continued for 
some time after that event and sent offshoots to Germany, 
France, and the Low Countries, but was ultimately at different 
dates incorporated with the Roman church. It took its origin 
probably from Gaul, and afterwards from Italy also. The 
legend traces it to St. Paul and other apostolic founders. The 
venerable Bede (fT35) says, that the British king Lucius (about 
167) applied to the Roman bishop Eleutherus for missionaries. 
At the council of Aries, in Gaul (Arelate), in 314, three British 
bishops, of Eboracum (York), Londinum (London), and Colonia 
Londinensium (i. e. either Lincoln or more probably Colchester), 
were present. 

The conversion of the barbarians of Northern and Western 
Europe did not begin in earnest before the fifth and sixth cen- 
turies, and will claim our attention in the history of the Middle 

J". B, Gams (E. C.): Die Kirchengeschishte wn Spanien, Kegonslwrg, 
1862-1879, 5 vols. The first vol. (422 pages) is taken up with, the legendary 
history of the first three centuries. 75 pages are ^iven to the disunion of 
Paul's journey to Spain. Gams traces Christianity in that country to Paul and 
to seven disciples of the Apostles sent to Borne, namely, Torquatus, Ctesiphon, 
Secundus, Indaletius, Cacilius, Hesvchius, and Euphrasius (according to the 
Roman Martyrologium, edited by Baronius, 1586). 


"Semen est sanguis Christianorum" Tertullian. 

12. Literature. 


EUSEBITTS : JET. E. y particularly Lib. viii. and ix. 

LACTANTIUS: De Mbrtibus persecutorum. 


and ORIGEN, and the Epistles of CYPRIAN. 
THEOD. RUIN ART: Acta primorum martyrum sincera et seleota. Par. 

1689 ; 2nd ed. Amstel. 1713 (covering the first four cent.). 
Several biographies in the Acta Sanctorum. Antw. 1643 sqq. 
Les Acts des martyrs depuis Forigine de Veglise Chretienne jusqtfa nos 

t&mps. Traduits et publics par Zes R.R. P.P. benedictins de la congreg. 

de France. Par. 1857 sqq. 
The Martijrol. Hieronymianum (ed. Florentini, Luc. 1668, and in Migne's 

PatroL Lot. Opp. Hieron. xi, 434 sqq.) ; the Martijrol Romanum (ed. 

Baron. 1586), the Menolog. Grcec. (ed. Urbini, 1727) ; DE Eossi, 

EOLLEE, and other works on the Roman Catacombs. 


JOHN FOXE (or Fox, d. 1587) : Acts and Monuments of the Church (com- 
monly called Book of Martyrs), first pub. at Strasburg 1554, and 
Basle 1559 ; first complete ed. fol. London 1563 ; 9th ed. fol. 1684, 
3 vols. fol. ; best ed. by G. Townsend, Lond. 1843, 8 vols. 80. ; also 
many abridged editions. Foxe exhibits the entire history of Chris- 
tian martyrdom, including the Protestant martyrs of the middle age 
and the sixteenth century, with polemical reference to the church 
of Rome as the successor of heathen Rome in the work of bloody 
persecution. "The Ten Roman persecutions" are related in the 
first volume. 

KORTHOLDT: De perseoutionibus eccL primcevce. Kiel, 1629. 

GIBBON: chap. xvi. 

MUNTER: Die Christen im heidnischen H<m$e vor Consfantin Copenh, 

VON MANSEGG (R. C.) : Die Verfolgungen dor ersten 
lichen Kirche. Vienna, 1821. 


32 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

W. AD. SCHMIDT : Geschichte der Denk u. Glaubensfreiheit im ersfm 
Jahrhund&rt der Kaiserherrschaft und des Christenthums. Bcrl. 1847. 

KHITZLEK: Die Heldenzeiten des Christenthums. Vol. i. Der KarnvJ 
mit dem Heidenthum. Leipz. 1856. 

FE. W. GASS : Das christl Mdrtyrert/mm in den ersten JahrJimdcrtcn. 
1859-60 (in Niedner's " Zeitsckrift fur hist. Thcol." for 185<), pp. 
323-392, and 1860, pp. 315-381). 

F. OVERBECK : Gesetze der rb'm. Kaiser gegen die Christen, is his Studies 
zur Gesch. der alien Kirche, I. Chemn. 1875. 

B. AUBE: Histoire des persecutions de I'fylisejusqu 9 a la fin des Antonins. 
2nd ed. Paris 1875 (Crowned by the Acud6mie frai^aiso). By the 
same: Histoire des persecutions de I'&glise, La polemique pcvycnnv a la 
fin du II. s&cZe, 1878. Les Chrtstiens dans 7 empire remain, <l<>, la, fin 
des Antonins au milieu du III 6 siede (180-%lfi\ 1881. Eegl'ise et 
Tltdt dam la seconds moitU du III 6 siecle, 1886. 

K, WIESELER : Die Christenverfolgungen der Gdsaren, Imt. und chronol, 
untersucht. Giitersloh, 1878. 

GEEH. UHLHOEN : Der Kampf des Christenthums mit dcm IIcMknthum. 
3d ed. Stuttgart, 1879. EngL transl. by Smyth & Ropes, 1870. 

THEOD. KEIM: Rom und das CJmstenthum. Berlin, 1881. 

E. KENAN : Marc-Aurtle. Paris, 1882, pp. 53-69. 

13. General Survey. 

The persecutions of Christianity during the first three cen- 
turies appear like a long tragedy : first, foreboding signs; then 
a succession of bloody assaults of heathenism upon the religion 
of the cross ; amidst the dark scenes of fiendish hatred and 
cruelty the bright exhibitions of suffering virtue; now and 
then a short pause; at last a fearful and desperate struggle of 
the old pagan empire for life and death, ending in the abiding 
victory of the Christian religion. Thus this bloody baptism 
of the church resulted in the birth of a Christian world. It 
was a repetition and prolongation of the crucifixion, but fol- 
lowed by a resurrection. 

Our Lord had predicted this conflict, and prepared His dis- 
ciples for it " Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst 
of wolves. They will deliver you up to councils, and in their 
synagogues they will scourge you; yea and before governors 
and kings shall ye be brought for My sake, for a testimony to 
them aud to the Gentiles. And brother shall deliver up 


orother to death, and the father his child : and children shall 
rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 
And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake : but he 
that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." These, and 
similar words, as well as the recollection of the crucifixion and 
resurrection, fortified and cheered many a confessor and martyr 
in the dungeon and at the stake. 

The persecutions proceeded first from the Jews, afterwards 
from the Gentiles, and continued, with interruptions, for nearly 
three hundred years. History reports no mightier, longer and 
deadlier conflict than this war of extermination waged by 
heathen Rome against defenseless Christianity. It was a most 
unequal struggle, a struggle of the sword and of the cross; 
carnal power all on one side, moral power all on the other. It 
was a struggle for life and death. One or the t other of the 
combatants must succumb. A compromise was impossible. 
The future of the world's history depended on the downfall 
of heathenism and the triumph of Christianity. Behind the 
scene were the powers of the invisible world, God and the 
prince of darkness, Justin, Tertullian, and other confessors 
traced the persecutions to Satan and the demons, though they 
did not ignore the human and moral aspects ; they viewed them 
also as a punishment for past sins, and a school of Christian 
virtue. Some denied that martyrdom was an evil, since it 
only brought Christians the sooner to God and the glory of 
heaven. As war brings out the heroic qualities of men, so did 
the persecutions develop the patience, the gentleness, the en- 
durance of the Christians, and prove the world-conquering 

power of faith. 

Number of Persecutions. 

From the fifth century it has been customary to reckon ten 
great persecutions : u&der Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Marcus 
Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Maximinus, Decius, Valerian, 
Aurelian, and Diocletian. 1 This number was suggested by the 

x So"Augustin, DC Qivit. Dei, xviii. 52, but he mentions Antoninus for Marcus 
Aurelius. Lactantius counts six, Sulpitius Severus nine persecutions. 
Vol. II. 3. 

34 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

ten plagues of Egypt taken as types (which, however, befell 
the enemies of Israel, and present a contrast rather than a 
parallel), and by the ten horns of the Roman beast making war 
with the Lamb, taken for so many emperors. 1 But the number 
is too great for the general persecutions, and too small for the 
provincial and local. Only two imperial persecutions those 
of Decius and Diocletian extended over the empire; but 
Christianity was always an illegal religion from Trajan to Con- 
stantine, and subject to annoyance and violence everywhere. 2 
Some persecuting emperors Nero, Domitian, Galerius, were 
monstrous tyrants, but others Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, 
Decius, Diocletian were among the best and most energetic, 
emperors, and were prompted not so much by hatred of Chris- 
tianity as by zeal for the maintenance of the laws and the 
power of the government. On the other hand, some of the 
most worthless emperors Commodus, Caracalla, and Helio- 
gabahis were rather favorable to the Christians from sheer 
caprice. All were equally ignorant of the true character of 
the new religion. 

The Result. 

The long and bloody war of heathen Rome against the 
church, which is built upon a rock, utterly failed. It began in 
Rome under Nero, it ended near Rome at the Milvian bridge, 
under Constantine. Aiming to exterminate, it purified. It 
called forth the virtues of Christian heroism, and resulted in 
the consolidation and triumph of the new religion. The 

1 Ex. chs. 5-10; Rev. 17: 12sqq. Augustin felt the impropriety of refer- 
ring to the Egyptian plagues, and calls this a mete conjecture of the human 
mind which "sometimes hits the truth and sometimes is deceived," He also 
rectifies the number hy referring to the persecutions before Nero, mentioned in 
the N. T., and to the persecutions after Diocletian, as that of Julian, and the 
Arian emperors. " When I think of these and the like things," he says, "it 
does not seem to me that the number of persecutions with which the church is 
to be tried can be definitely stated." 

2 On the relation of Christianity to the laws of the Roman empire, flee 
Aube*, Le la kgalitt du Ckistmime dans f empire Bmain au lar v&clt. Paris 


philosophy of persecution is best expressed by the terse word 
of Tertullian, who lived in the midst of them, but did not see 
the end: "The blood of the Christians is the seed of the 
Church. V 

Rdigious Freedom. 

The blood of persecution is also the seed of civil and religious 
liberty. All sects, schools, and parties, whether religious or 
political, when persecuted, complain of injustice and plead for 
toleration ; but few practise it when in power. The reason of 
this inconsistency lies in the selfishness of human nature, and in 
mistaken zeal for what it believes to be true and right. Liberty 
is of very slow, but sure growth. 

The ancient world of Greece and Rome generally was based 
upon the absolutism of the state, which mercilessly trampled 
under foot the individual rights of men. It is Christianity 
which taught and acknowledged them. 

The Christian apologists first proclaimed, however imper- 
fectly, the principle of freedom of religion, and the sacred rights 
of conscience. Tertullian, in prophetic anticipation as it were 
of the modern Protestant theory, boldly tells the heathen that 
everybody has a natural and inalienable right to worship God 
according to his conviction, that all compulsion in matters of 
conscience is contrary to the very nature of religion, and that 
no form of worship has any value whatever except as far as it 
is a free voluntary homage of the heart. 1 

Similar views in favor of religious liberty were expressed by 

1 See the remarkable passage Ad Scapulam, c. 2: " Tamen humani juris et 
naturdis potestaMs est unwwique quod putavertt colere, nee alii obest, out prodest 
alt&rius religio. Sed nee religionis est cog&re religionem, quo3 sponte tmripi debeat 
non vi, cum et hostiae ab animo Wb&nti expostulentur. Ita etsi no$ compuleritis ad 
sacrificandum, nihtt prcestobitis diis vestris. Ab invitis enim sacrificia non dewcfer- 
ab'unt, nisi si contentiosi sunt; contentiosus autem deus non est" Comp. the similar 
passage in Tertullian, Apolog. c. 24, where after enumerating the various forms 
of idolatry which enjoyed free toleration in the empire he continues : "Videte 
enim neethoc ad irreligiositatis elogium concurrat, adimere libertatem religionis et 

quern nolim. Nemo 86 ab invito coli voletj ne homo quidem" 

36 SECOND PERIOD. A.I). 100-311. 

Justin Martyr/ and at the close of our period l>y Lactantius, 
who says : " Religion cannot be imposed by force ; the matter 
must be carried on by words rather than by blows, that the 
will may be affected. Torture and piety are widely different ; 
nor is it possible for truth to be united with violence, or justice 
with cruelty. Nothing is so much a matter of free will as 
religion." 2 

The Church, after its triumph over paganism, forgot this 
lesson, and for many centuries treated all Christian heretics, as 
well as Jews and Gentiles, just as the old Romans had treated 
the Christians, without distinction of creed or sect. Every 
state-church from the times of the Christian emperors of Con- 
stantinople to the times of the Russian Czars and the South 
American Republics, has more or less persecuted the dissenters, 
in direct violation of the principles and practice of Christ and 
the apostles, and in carnal misunderstanding of the spiritual 
nature of the kingdom of heaven. 

14, Jewish Persecution. 

I. Dio CASSIUS: ffist. Rom. LXYIII. 32; LXIX. 12-14; JTTSTTN M.: 
ApoL I. 31, 47; EUSEBIUS : K EccL IV. 2. and 6. Rabbinical tra- 
ditions in Derenbourg : Histoire de la Palestine depuis Qyrus juxqu' 
a Adrien (Paris 1867), pp. 402-438. 

n. FB. MtoTER: Der Mdiscke Krieg unter Frajan u. Hadrian. Altona 
and Leipz. 1821. 

DEYLINQ-: Aeliae Capitol origines et Mstorice. Lips. 1743. 

EWALD: Gesch. des Volkes Israel, VEL 373-432. 

MILMAK: History of the Jews, Books 18 and 20. 

GElTZ: Gesch. der Juden. Yol. IY. (Leipz. 1866). 

SCH-&EEB: Neutestam. Zeitgeschichte (1874), pp. 350-367. 

The Jews had displayed their obstinate unbelief and bitter 
hatred of the gospel in the crucifixion of Christ, the stoning of 
Stephen, the execution of James the Elder, the repeated incar- 
cerations of Peter and John, tibe wild rage against Paul, and the 

1 Apol I. c. % 4, 12. 8 Irutiit. dm. V. 20. 


murder of James the Just. No wonder that the fearful judg- 
ment of God at last visited this ingratitude upon them in the 
destruction of the holy city and the temple, from which the 
Christians found refuge in Pella. 

But this tragical fate could break only the national power of 
i)he Jews, not their hatred of Christianity. They caused the 
death of Symeon, bishop of Jerusalem (107) ; they were par- 
ticularly active in the burning of Poly carp of Smyrna; and 
they inflamed the violence of the Gentiles by c^umniating the 
>ect of the Nazarenes. 

The Rebellion under Bar-Cochba. Jerusalem again Destroyed. 

By severe oppression under Trajan and Hadrian, the prohibi- 
tion of circumcision, and the desecration of Jerusalem by the 
idolatry of the pagans, the Jews were provoked to a new and 
powerful insurrection (A. r>. 132-135). A pseudo-Messiah, 
Bar-Cochba (son of the stars, Num. 24 : 17), afterwards called 
Bar-Cosiba (son of falsehood), put himself at the head of the 
rebels, and caused all the Christians who would not join him to 
be most cruelly murdered. But the false prophet was defeated 
by Hadrian's general in 135, more than half a million of Jews 
were slaughtered after a desperate resistance, immense numbers 
sold into slavery, 985 villages and 50 fortresses levelled to the 
ground, nearly all Palestine laid waste, Jerusalem again de- 
stroyed, and a Roman colony, Aelia Capitolina, erected on its 
ruins, with an image of Jupiter and a temple of Venus. The 
coins of Aelia Capitolina bear the images of Jupiter Capitolinus, 
Bacchus, Serapis, Astarte. 

Thus the native soil of the venerable religion of the Old Tes- 
tament was ploughed up, and idolatry planted on it. The Jews 
were forbidden to visit the holy spot of their former metropolis 
upon pain of death. 1 Only on the anniversary of the destruo 

1 As reported by Justin M., a native of Palestine and a cotemporary of this 
destruction of Jerusalem. ApoL I. c. 47. Tertullian also says (Adv. Jiid. c. 
13), that "an interdict was issued forbidding any one of the Jews to linger in 
the confines of the district." 

38 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

tion were they allowed to behold and bewail it from a distance. 
The prohibition was continued under Christian emperors to their 
disgrace. Julian the Apostate, from hatred of the Christians, 
allowed and encouraged them to rebuild the temple, but in vain. 
Jerome, who spent the rest of his life in monastic retirement at 
Bethlehem (d. 419), informs us in pathetic words that in his day 
old Jewish men and women, "in oorporibus et in habitu BUG 
iram Domini demonstrates" had to buy from the Eoman watch 
the privilege of weeping and lamenting over the ruins from 
mount Olivet in sight of the cross, "ut qui quondam cmerant 
sangruinem Qhristi, emant lacrymas suas, et ne fletus quidem eis 
gratuities sit. 3 ' 1 The same sad privilege the Jews now enjoy 
under Turkish rule, not only once a year, but every Friday 
beneath the very walls of the Temple, now replaced by the 
Mosque of Omar. 2 

The Talmud. 

After this the Jews had no opportunity for any further inde- 
pendent persecution of the Christians. Yet they continued to 
circulate horrible calumnies on Jesus and his followers. Their 
learned schools at Tiberias and Babylon nourished this bitter 
hostility. The Talmud, i. e. Doctrine, of which the first part 
(the Mishna, i. e. Kepetition) was composed towards the cud 
of the second century, and the second part (the Gemara, i. e. 
Completion) in the fourth century, well represents the Judaism 
of its day, stiff, traditional, stagnant, and anti-Christian. Sub- 
sequently the Jerusalem Talmud was eclipsed by the Babylonian 
(430-521), which is four times larger, and a still more distinct 
expression of Eabbinism. The terrible imprecation on apostates 

1 Ad Zephan. 1 : 15 sqq. Schiirer quotes the passage, p. 363. 

1 "The Wailing Place of the Jews" at the cyclopean foundation wall is just 
outside of the Mosque El Aska, and near " Kobinson's Arch." There I saw 
on Good Friday, 1877, a large number of Jews, old and young, men and 
women, venerable rabbis with patriarchal beards, others dirty and repulsive, 
kissing the stone wall and watering it with their tears, while repeating from 
Hebrew Bibles and prayer-books the Lamentations of Jeremiah, Psalms 76th 
and 79th, and various litanies. Comp. Tobler, Topographic von Jerusalem, 
I. 629. 


(precatio hceretieorum), designed to deter Jews from going over 
to the Christian faith, conies from the second century, and is 
stated by the Talmud to have been composed at Jafna, where 
the Sanhedrin at that time had its seat, by the younger Rabbi 

The Talmud is the slow growth of several centuries. It is a 
chaos of Jewish learning, wisdom, and folly, a continent of rub- 
bish, with hidden pearls of true maxims and poetic para- 
bles. Delitzsch calls it " a vast debating club, in which there 
hum confusedly the myriad voices of at least five centuries, a 
unique code of laws, in comparison -with which the law-books of 
all other nations are but lilliputian." It is the Old Testament 
misinterpreted and turned against the New, hi fact, though not 
in form. It is a rabbinical Bible without inspiration, without 
the Messiah, without hope. It shares the tenacity of the Jewish 
race, and, like it, continues involuntarily to bear testimony to 
the truth of Christianity. A distinguished historian, on being 
asked what is the best argument for Christianity, promptly re- 
plied : the Jews. 1 

Unfortunately this people, still remarkable even in its tragical 
end, was in many ways cruelly oppressed and persecuted by the 
Christians after Constantine, and thereby only confirmed in its 
fanatical hatred of them. The hostile legislation began with 
the prohibition of the circumcision of Christian slaves, and the 
intermarriage between Jews and Christians, and proceeded 
already in the fifth century to the exclusion of the Jews from 
all civil and political rights in Christian states. Even our en- 
lightened age has witnessed the humiliating spectacle of a cruel 
Judenhetze in Germany and still more in Russia (1881). But 
through all changes of fortune God has preserved this ancient 

1 On the literature of the Talmud see the articles in Herzog, and in McClin- 
tock & Strong, and especially Schurer, Neutesfamentl. Zeitgeschichte (Leipz. 
1874), pp. 45-49, to which I add Schurer's essay: Die Predigt Jesu Christi in 
ihrem, Verhaltnias mm AU&n, Testament wnd aum Judenthwm, Darmstadt, 1882. 
The relation of the Talmud to the Sermon on the Mount and the few resem- 
blances is discussed by Pick in McClintock & Strong, vol. ix. 571. 

40 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

race as a living monument of his justice and his mercy ; and 
he will undoubtedly assign it an important part in the consum- 
mation of his kingdom at the second coming of Christ. 

15. Causes of Roman Persecution. 

The policy of the Roman government, the fanaticism of the 
superstitious people, and the self-interest of the pagan priests 
conspired for the persecution of a religion which threatened to 
demolish the tottering fabric of idolatry ; and they left no ex- 
pedients of legislation, of violence, of craft, and of wickedness 
untried, to blot it from the earth. ^ 

To glance first at the relation of the Roman state to the Chris- 

tian religion. 

Roman Toleration. 

The policy of imperial Rome Was in a measure tolerant. It 

was repressive, but not preventive. Freedom of thought 
not checked by a censorship, education was left untrammelled to 
be arranged between the teacher and the learner. The armies 
were quartered on the frontiers as a protection of the empire, 
not employed at home as instruments of oppression, and fcho 
people were diverted from public affairs and political discontent 
by public amusements. The ancient religions of the conquered 
races were tolerated as far as they did not interfere with the 
interests of the state. The Jews enjoyed special protection since 
the time of Julius Csesar. 

Now so long as Christianity was regarded by the Romans as 
a mere sect of Judaism, it shared the hatred and contempt, in- 
deed, but also the legal protection bestowed on that ancient 
national religion. Providence had so ordered it that Christianity 
had already taken root in the leading cities of the empire before 
its true character was understood. Paul had carried it, under 
the protection of his Roman citizenship, to the ends of the em- 
pire, and the Roman proconsul at Corinth refused to interfere 
with his activity on the ground that it was an internal question 
of the Jews, which did not belong to his tribunal. The heathen 


statesmen and authors, even down to the age of Trajan, includ- 
ing the historian Tacitus and the younger Pliny, considered the 
Christian religion as a vulgar superstition, hardly worthy of 
their notice. 

But it was far too important a phenomenon, and made far too 
rapid progress to be long thus ignored or despised. So soon as 
it was understood as a new religion, and as, in fa t, claiming uni- 
versal validity and acceptance, it was set down as unlawful and 
treasonable, a religio illicitaj and it was the constant reproach 
of the Christians : " You have no right to exist." * 

Roman Intolerance. 

We need not be surprised at this position. For with all its 
professed and actual tolerance the Roman state was thoroughly 
interwoven with heathen idolatry, and made religion a tool of 
its policy. Ancient history furnishes no example of a state 
without some religion and form of worship. Rome makes no 
exception to the general rule. "The Romano-Hellenic state- 
religion" (says Mommsen), "and the Stoic state-philosophy 
inseparably combined with it were not merely a convenient 
instrument for every government-oligarchy, democracy, or 
monarchy but altogether indispensable, because it was just as 
impossible to construct the state wholly without religious eler 
ments as to discover any new state religion adapted to form a 
substitute for the old." 2 

The piety of Romulus and Numa was believed to have laid 
the foundation of the power of Rome. To the favor of the 
deities of the republic, the brilliant success of the Roman arms was 
attributed. The priests and Vestal virgins were supported out 
of the public treasury. The emperor was ex-officio the pontifex 
ma&imus, and even an object of divine worship. The gods 
were national ; and the eagle of Jupiter Capitolinus moved as 
a good genius before the world-conquering legions. Cicero lays 
down as a principle of legislation, that no one should be allowed 

1 "Non licet ease vos." Tertullian, Apol 4. 

a The History of Rome, translated by Dickson, vol. IV. P. II. p. 559. 

42 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

to worship foreign gods, unless they were recognized by public 
statute. 1 Maecenas counselled Augustus: "Honor the gods 
according to the custom of our ancestors, and compel 2 others to 
worship them. Hate and punish those who bring in strange 

It is true, indeed, that individuals in Greece and Kome en- 
joyed an almost unlimited liberty for expressing sceptical and 
even impious sentiments in conversation, in books and on the 
stage. We need only refer to the works of Aristophanes, 
Lucian, Lucretius, Plautus, Terence. But a sharp distinction 
was made then, as often since by Christian governments, be- 
tween liberty of private thought and conscience, which is 
inalienable and beyond the reach of legislation, and between the 
liberty of public worship, although the latter is only the legiti- 
mate consequence of the former. Besides, wherever religion is 
a matter of state-legislation and compulsion, there is almost 
invariably a great deal of hypocrisy and infidelity among the 
educated classes, however often it may conform outwardly, from 
policy, interest or habit, to the forms and legal acquirements of 
the established creed. 

The senate and emperor, by special edicts, usually allowed 
conquered nations the free practice of their worship even in 
Borne ; not, however, from regard for the sacred rights of con- 
science, but merely from policy, and with the express prohibition 
of making proselytes from the state religion ; hence severe laws 
were published from time to time against transition to Judaism, 

Obstacles to the Toleration of Christianity. 

To Christianity, appearing not as a national religion, but 
claiming to be the only true universal one, making its converts 
among every people and every sect, attracting Greeks and 
.Romang in much larger numbers than Jews, refusing to com- 
promise with any form of idolatry, and /threatening in fact the 
very existence of the Eoman state religion',*! even this limited 

1 "Nisi publice adscitos." 2 av<fy/cae, according to Dion 


toleration could not be granted. The same all-absorbing politi- 
cal interest of Rome dictated here the opposite course, and 
Tertullian is hardly just in charging the Eomans with inconsist- 
ency for tolerating the worship of all false gods, from whom 
they had nothing to fear, and yet prohibiting the worship of the 
only true God who is Lord over all. 1 Born under Augustus. 
and crucified under Tiberius at the sentence of the Roman 
magistrate, Christ stood as the founder of a spiritual universal 
empire at the head of the most important epoch of the Roman 
power, a rival not to be endured. The reign of Constantine 
subsequently showed that the free toleration of Christianity was 
the death-blow to the Roman state religion. 

Then, too, the conscientious refusal of the Christians to pay 
divine honors to the emperor and his statue, and to take part in 
any idolatrous ceremonies at public festivities, their aversion to 
the imperial military service, their disregard for politics and 
depreciation of all civil and temporal affairs as compared with 
the spiritual and eternal interests of man, their close brotherly 
union and frequent meetings, drew upon them the suspicion of 
hostility to the Caesars and the Roman people, and the unpardon- 
able crime of conspiracy against the state. 2 

The common people also, with their polytheistic ideas, ab- 
horred the believers in the one God as atheists and enemies of 
the gods. They readily gave credit to the slanderous rumors of 
all sorts of abominations, even incest and cannibalism, practised 
by the Christians at their religious assemblies and love-feasts, 
and regarded the frequent public calamities of that age as pun- 
ishments justly inflicted by the angry gods for the disregard of 
their worship. In North Africa arose the proverb f " If God 
does not send rain, lay it to the Christians." At every inunda- 
tion, or drought, or famine, or pestilence, the fanatical populace 
cried : " Away with the atheists'! To the lions with the Chris- 
tians ! ; * 

1 Apolog. c. 24 at the close : "Apud vo& yuodvis cohere jits e&t proeter Deuw -uertwn, 
fuasi non hie magis omnium sit Dews, cuius omnes swnus" 

2 Hence the reproacliful designation, " Hostes C&sarum etpopuli Romani" 

44 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

Finally, persecutions were sometimes started by priests, jug- 
glers, artificers, merchants, and others, who derived their support 
from the idolatrous worship. These, like Demetrius at Ephesus, 
and the masters of the sorceress at Philippi, kindled the fanati- 
cism and indignation of the mob against the new religion for its 
interference with their gains. 1 

16. Condition of the Church before the Reign of Trajan. 

The imperial persecutions before Trajan belong to die 
Apostolic age, and have been already described in the first 
volume. We allude to them here only for the sake of the con- 
nection. Christ was born under the first, and crucified under 
the second Boman emperor. Tiberius (A. D. 14-37) is reported 
to have been frightened by Pilate's account of the crucifixion 
and resurrection, and to have proposed to the senate, without 
success, the enrolment of Christ among the Roman deities ; but 
this rests only on the questionable authority of Tcrtullian. The 
edict of Claudius (42-54) in the year 53, which banished the 
Jews from Rome, fell also upon the Christians, but as Jews witli 
whom they were confounded. The fiendish persecution of Nero 
(54-68) was intended as a punishment, not for Christianity, but 
for alleged incendiarism (64). It showed, however, the popular 
temper, and was a declaration of war against the new religion. 
It became a common saying among Christians that Nero would 
reappear as Antichrist. 

During the rapidly succeeding reigns of Galba, Otho, Vitcllius, 
Vespasian, and Titus, the church, so far as we know, suffered 
no very serious persecution. 

But Domitian (81-96), a suspicious and blasphemous tyrant, 
accustomed to call himself and to be called " Lord and God," 
treated the embracing of Christianity as a crime against the state, 
and condemned to death many Christians, even his own cousin, 
the consul Flavius Clemens, on the charge of atheism ; or con- 
fiscated their property, and sent them, as in the case of 

' * Comp. Arts. 19: 24; 16: 16. 

\ 17. TEAJAN, A.D. 98-117. 45 

Domitilla, the wife of the Clemens just mentioned, into exile. 
His jealousy also led him to destroy the surviving descendants 
of David ; and he brought from Palestine to Rome two kinsmen 
of Jesus, grandsons of Judas, the " brother of the Lord," but 
seeing their poverty and rustic simplicity, and hearing their ex- 
planation of the kingdom of Christ as not earthly, but heavenly, 
to be established by the Lord at the end of the world, when He 
should come to judge the quick and the dead, he let them go. 
Tradition (in Irenseus, Eusebius, Jerome) assigns to the reign of 
Domitian the banishment of John to Patmos (which, however, 
must be assigned to the reign of Nero), together with his miracu- 
lous preservation from death in Rome (attested by Tertullian), 
and the martyrdom of Andrew, Mark, Onesimus, and Dionysius 
the Areopagite. The Martyrium of Ignatius speaks of " many 
persecutions under Domitian." 

His humane and justice-loving successor, Nerva (96-98), re- 
called the banished, and refused to treat the confession of Chris- 
tianity as a political crime, though he did not recognise the new 
religion as a religio lieita. 

17. Trajan. A. D. 98-117 Christianity Forbidden, Martyr- 
dom of Symeon of Jerusalem, and Ignatius of Antioch. 


PUNICS, jun. : Epist. x. 96 and 97 (al. 97 sq.). TEBTULLTATT : Apol c. 2 ; 
EUSEBIUS : H. E. III. 11, 32, 33, 36. Chron. pasch. p. 470 (ed. Bonn.). 

Acta Martyrii Ignatii, in KTOTART, p. 8 sqq. ; recent edd. by THEOD. - 
ZAHN, in Patrum Apost. Opera (Lips. 1876), vol. II. pp. 301 sqq. ; 
FUNK, Opera Pair. Apost., vol. I. 254-265 ; II. 218-275 ; and LIGHT- 
FOOT : S. Ignatius and S. Polye., II. 1, 473-570. 


On Trajan's reign in general see TILLEMONT, Histoire des Empereurs; 

MERIVALE, History of the Romans under the Empire. 
On Ignatius : THEOD*. ZAHN: Ignatius von Antioehien. Gotha 1873 (631 
pages). LIGHTFOOT : 8. Ignatius and S. Pofyc., London 1885, 2 vols. 
On the chronology : ADOLPH HARNACK : Die Zeit des Ignatius. Leipzig, 
1878 (90 pages); comp. EJEIM, /. a 510-562; but especially LIGHT- 
FOOT, I. c. II. 1, 390 sqq. 

The Epistles of Ignatius will be discussed in chapter XTTL on ecclesi- 
astical literature, 2 164 and 165. 

46 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Trajan, one of the best and most praiseworthy emperors, 
honored as the " father of his country," but, like his friends, 
Tacitus and Pliny, wholly ignorant of the nature of Christianity, 
was the first to pronounce it in form a proscribed religion, as it 
had been all along in fact. He revived the rigid laws against 
all secret societies, 1 and the provincial officers applied them to 
the Christians, on account of their frequent meetings for worship. 
His decision regulated the governmental treatment of the Chris- 
tians for more than a century. It is embodied in his correspond- 
ence with the younger Pliny, who was governor of Bithynia in 
Asia Minor from 109 to 111. 

Pliny came in official contact with the Christians. He him- 
self saw in that religion only a "depraved and immoderate 
superstition," and could hardly account for its popularity. He 
reported to the emperor that this superstition was constantly 
spreading, not only in the cities, but also in the villages of Asia 
Minor, and captivated people of every age, rank, and sex, so 
that the temples were almost forsaken, and the sacrificial victims 
found no sale. To stop this progress, he condemned many Chris- 
tians to death, and sent others, who were Roman citizens, to the 
imperial tribunal. But he requested of the emperor further 
instructions, whether, in these efforts, he should have respect to 
age ; whether he should treat the mere bearing of the Christian 
name as a crime, if there were no other offence. 

To these inquiries Trajan replied: "You have adopted the 
right course, my friend, with regard to the Christians ; for no 
universal rule, to be applied to all cases, can be laid down in 
this matter. They should not be searched for ; but when accused 
and convicted, they should be punished;' yet if any one denies 
that he has been a Christian, and proves it by action, namely, 

1 Or prohibited clubs. This is the meaning of hetosria (rafpei or Iraipta), 
collegium, sodalitas, sodcditium, company, brotherhood, especially a private 
political club or union for party purposes. The Roman sodalities were festive 
clubs or lodges, and easily available for political and revolutionary ends. 
Trajan refused to sanction a company of firemen in Nicomedia (Pliny, Ep> X. 
34, al. 43). Comp. Biittner, Geschichte d&r polttischen, Hetdrien in Athen (1840X 
and Mommsen, De collegiis et soddieiis Eomanorum (Kiel, 1843). 

t 17. TRAJAN, A.D. 98-117. 47 

by worshipping our gods, he is to be pardoned upon his repent- 
ance, even though suspicion may still cleave to him from his 
antecedents. But anonymous accusations must not be admitted 
in any criminal process ; it sets a bad example, and is contrary 
to our age" (i. e. to the spirit of Trajan's government). 

This decision was much milder than might have been expected 
from a heathen emperor of the old Roman stamp. TertuUiaai 
charges it with self-contradiction, as both cruel and lenient, for- 
bidding the search for Christians and yet commanding their 
punishment, thus declaring them innocent and guilty at the same 
time. But the emperor evidently proceeded on political princi- 
ples, and thought that a transient and contagious enthusiasm, 
as Christianity in his judgment was, could be suppressed sooner 
by leaving it unnoticed, than by openly assailing it. He wished 
to ignore it as much as possible. But every day it forced itself 
more and more upon public attention, as it spread with the 
irresistible power of truth. 

This rescript might give occasion, according to the sentiment 
of governors, for extreme severity towards Christianity as a 
secret union and a religio illicita. Even the humane Pliny tells 
us that he applied the rack to tender women. /Syria and Pales- 
tine suffered heavy persecutions in this reign. 

Symeon, bishop of Jerusalem, and, like his predecessor James, 
a kinsman of Jesus, was accused by fanatical Jews, and cruci- 
fied A. D. 107, at the age of a hundred and twenty years. 

In the same year (or probably between 110 and 116) the distin- 
guished bishop Ignatius of Antioch was condemned to death, 
transported to Eome, and thrown before wild beasts in the 
Colosseum. The story of his martyrdom has no doubt been 
much embellished, but it must have some foundation in fact, 
and is characteristic of the legendary martyrology of the ancient 

Our knowledge of Ignatius is derived from his disputed 
epistles, 1 and a few short notices by Irenseus and Origen. While 

*In three recensions, two in Greek, and one in Syriac. The seven shorten 
Greek Ep. are genuine. See below ? 165. 

48 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

his existence, his position in the early Church, and his martyr* 
dom are admitted, everything else about him is called in ques- 
tion. How many epistles he wrote, and when he wrote them, how 
much truth there is in the account of his martyrdom, and when 
it took place, when it was written up, and by whom all are 
undecided, and the subject of protracted controversy. He was, 
according to tradition, a pupil of the Apostle John, and by hia 
piety so commended himself to the Christians in Antioch that 
he was chosen bishop, the second after Peter, Euodius being the 
first. But although he was a man of apostolic character, and 
governed the church with great care, he was personally not 
satisfied, until he should be counted worthy of sealing his 
testimony with his blood, and thereby attaining to the highon* 
seat of honor. The coveted crown came to him at last, and hirf 
eager and morbid desire for martyrdom was gratified. The em- 
peror Trajan, in 107, came to Antioch, and there threatened 
with persecution all who refused to sacrifice to the gods. Igna- 
tius was tried for this offence, and proudly confessed himself a 
"Theophorus" ("bearer of God") because, as he said, he had 
Christ within his breast. Trajan condemned him to be thrown 
to the lions at Rome. The sentence was executed with all haste. 
Ignatius was 'immediately bound in chains, and taken over land 
and sea, accompanied by ten soldiers, whom he denominated his 
" leopards," from Antioch to Seleucia, to Smyrna, where he 
met Polycarp, and whence he wrote to the churches, particu- 
larly to that in Rome ; to Troas, to Neapolis, through Macedonia 
to Epirus, and so over the Adriatic to Rome. . He was received 
by the Christians there with every manifestation of respect, but 
would not allow them to avert or even to delay his martyrdom. 
It was on the 20th day of December, 107, that he was thrown 
into the amphitheater: immediately the wild beasts fell upon 
him, and soon naught remained of his body but a few bones, 
which were carefully conveyed to Antioch as an inestimable 
treasure. The faithful friends who had accompanied him from 
home dreamed that night that they saw him ; some that he was 
standing by Christ, dropping with sweat as if he had just come 

3 18. HADRIAN, A. D. 117-138. 49 

from his great labor. Comforted by these dreams they returned 
with the relics to Antioch. 

Note on the Date of the Martyrdom of Ignatius, 

The date A. D. 107 has in its favor the common reading of the best of 
the martyrologies of Ignatius (Colbertinum) hvar^ erer, in the ninth year, i. e. 
from Trajan's accession, A. r>. 98. From this there is no good reason to de- 
part in favor of another reading rsraprov erof, the nineteenth year, i. e. A. D. 
116. Jerome makes the date A. D. 109. The fact that the names of the 
Roman consuls are correctly given in the Martyrium Colbertinum, is proof of 
ihe correctness of the date, which is accepted by such critics as Ussher, Tille- 
mont, Mohler, Hefele, and Wieseler. The latter, in his work Die 'Christenver- 
folgungen der Casaren, 1878, pp. 125 sqq., finds confirmation of this date in 
Eusebius's statement that the martyrdom took place before Trajan came to 
Antioch, which was in his 10th year _ in the short interval between the mar- 
tyrdom of Ignatius and Symeon, son of Klopas (Hist. Ecc. III. 32); and 
finally, in the letter of Tiberian to Trajan, relating how many pressed forward 
to martyrdom an effect, as Wieseler thinks, of the example "of Ignatius. If 
107 be accepted, then another supposition of Wieseler is probable. It is well 
known that in that year Trajan held an extraordinary triumph on account of 
his Pacian victories : may it not have been that the blood of Ignatius reddened 
the sand of the amphitheatre at that time ? 

But 107 A. D. is by no means universally accepted. Keim (Rom und das 
Christenthum, p. 540) finds the Martyrium Colbertinum wrong in stating that the 
death took place under the first consulate of Sura and the second of Senecu 
because in 107 Sura was consul for the third and Senecio for the fourth time. 
He also objects that Trajan was not in Antioch in 107, but in 115, on his way 
to attack the Armenians and Parthians. But this latter objection falls to the 
ground if Ignatius was not tried by Trajan personally in Antioch. Harnack 
concludes that it is only barely possible that Ignatius was martyred under 
Trajan. Lightfoot assigns the martyrdom to between 110 and 118. 

18. Hadrian. A. D. 117-138. 

See GEBGOBOVIUS : Gexch. Hadrians und seiner Zeit (1851); EENAN: L'flglise 
chr&ienne (1879), 1-44, and WAGBNMANN in Herzog, vol. v. 501-506. 

Hadrian, of Spanish descent, a relative of Trajaa, and 
adopted by him on his death-bed, was a man of brilliant talents 
and careful education, a scholar, an artist, a legislator and 
administrator, and altogether one of the ablest among the 
Roman emperors, but of very doubtful morality, governed by 
changing moods, attracted in opposite directions, ancf at last lost 
in self-contradictions and utter disgust of life. His mausoleum 
(Moles Hadriani) still adorns, as the castle of Santf Angelo, die 
bridge of the Tiber in Rome. : He is represented both as a 
friend and foe of the church. He -was devoted to the religion 
Vol. II. 4 

50 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

of the state, bitterly opposed to Judaism, indifferent to Chris* 
tianity from ignorance of it He insulted the Jews and the 
Christians alike by erecting temples of Jupiter and Venus over 
the site of the temple and the supposed spot of the crucifixion. 
He is said to have directed the Asiatic proconsul to check the 
popular fury against the Christians, and to punish only those 
who should be ; by an orderly judicial process, convicted of trans- 
gression of the laws. 1 But no doubt he regarded, like Trajan, 
the mere profession of Christianity as itself such a transgression. 

,,The Christian apologies, which took their rise under this 
emperor, indicate a very bitter public sentiment against the 
Christians, and a critical condition of the church. The least 
encouragement from Hadrian would have brought on a bloody 
persecution. Quadratus and Aristides addressed their pleas for 
their fellow-Christians to him, we do not know with what effect. 

Later tradition assigns to his reign the martyrdom of St, 
Eustachius, St. Symphorosa and her seven sons, of the Roman 
bishops Alexander and Telesphorus, and others whose names are 
scarcely known, and whose chronology is more than doubtful. 

19. Antoninus Pius. A. D. 137-161. The Martyrdom of 


COMTE DE CHAMPAGNT (E. C.) : Les Antonins. (A. D. 6JM.80), Paris t 
1863 ; 3d ed. 1874. 8 vols., 8vo. MERIVALE'S History. 
MARTYBIUM POLYCARPI (the oldest, simplest, and least objection- 
able of the martyr-acts), in a letter of the church of Smyrna to the 
Christians in Pontus or Phrygia, preserved by EUSEBITJS, H. Eccl. 
IV. 15, and separately edited from various MSS. by Ussher (1647) 
and in nearly all the editions of the Apostolic Fathers, especially 
by 0. T. Gebhardt, Harnack, and Zahn, II. 132-168, and Prolog. 
L-LVI. The recension of the text is by Zahn, and departs from 
the text of the Bollandists in 98 places. Best edition by LIGHT- 

1 The rescript of Hadrian to Minucius Fundamis (124 or 128), preserved by 
Eusebius in a Greek translation, (H. J, IV. 8, 9), is almost an edict of tolera- 
tion, and hence doubted by Baur, Keim, Aube*, but defended as genuine by 
Neander (1. 101, Engl. ed.), Wieseler, Funk, Kenan (/. c. p. 32 sqq ). Benan 
represents Hadrian as a rieur spirituel, im Zman couronn$ prenant le mondt 
eonme urijwfriwle (p. 6), and therefore more favorable to religious liberty than 
the serious Trojan and the pious Antoninus and Marcus Aurelius. But Fried* 
lander (HI. 492) accepts the report of Pausanias that Hadrian was zealously 
devoted to the worship of the gods. Keim regards him as a visionary anil 
hostile to Christianity is well as to Judaism. 

< 19. ANTONINUS PIUS, A. D. 138-161. 1 

FOOT, 8. Ign. and S. Polycarp, I. 417 sqq., and II. 1005-1047. Comp, 

the Greek Vita Polycarpi, in Funk, II. 315 sqq. 
{GNATIUS : Ad. Potycarpum. Best ed., by Lightfoot, I c. 
ZEENAEUS: Adv. Haer. III. 3. 4. His letter to Florinus in EUSEB. v. 20. 
POLYOBATES of Ephesus (c. 190), in EUSEB. v. 24. 

On the date of Polycarp's death : 
WADDINGTON: Memoire sur la chronologie de la vie du rhdteur Aeliu* 

Aristide (in "Mem. de P Acad. des inscript. et belles letters," Tom. 

XXVI. Part II. 1867, pp. 232 sqq.), and in Fastes des provinces 

Asiatiques, 1872, 219 sqq. 
WIESELEB: Das Marty Hum Polykarp's und dessen Chronologie^ in his 

Christenverfolgungen, etc. (1878), 34-87. 
KEIM : Die Zwolf Martyrer von Smyrna und der Tod des JSisTiops Poly- 

karp, in his Aus dem Urchristenthum (1878), 92-133. 
E. EGLI: Das Mariyrium des Polyk.> in Hilgenfeld's " Zeitschrift fur 

wissensch. Theol." for 1882, pp. 227 sqq. 

Antoninus Pius protected the Christians from the tumultuous 
violence which broke out against them on account of the frequent 
public calamities. "But the edict ascribed to him, addressei to the 
deputies of the Asiatic cities, testifying to the innocence of the 
Christians, and holding them up to the heathen as models of 
fidelity and zeal in the worship of God, could hardly have come 
from an emperor, who bore the honorable title of Pius for his 
conscientious adherence to the religion of his fathers; 1 and in any 
case he could not have controlled the conduct of the provincial 
governors and the fury of the people against an illegal religion. 

The persecution of the church at Smyrna and the martyrdom 
of its venerable bishop, which was formerly assigned to the year 
167, under the reign of Marcus Aurelius, took place, according 
to more recent research, under Antoninus in 155, when Statius 
Quadratus was proconsul in Asia Minor. 2 Polycarp was a per- 

1 He always offered sacrifice himself as high-priest. Friedlander IH. 492. 

* So Waddingfon, who has made it almost certain that Quadratus was Roman 
consul A. D. 142, and proconsul in Asia from 154 to 155, and that Polycarp 
died Feb. 23, 155. He is followed by Kenan (1873), Ewajd (1873), Aub 
(1875), Hilgenfeld (1874), Lightfoot (1875), Lipsius (1874), 0. v. Gebhardt 
(1875), Zahn, Harnack (1876), Egli (1882), and again by Lightfoot (1885, L c, 
I. 647 sqq). Wieseler and Keim learnedly defend the old date (166-167), 
which rests on the authority of Eusebius and Jerome, and was held by 
Masson and Clinton. But Lightfoot refutes their objections (I. 647, sqq.), and 
sustains Waddington. 

52 SECOND PEBIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

sonal friend and pupil of the Apostle John, and chief pres- 
byter of the church at Smyrna, where a plain stone monument 
still marks his grave. He was the teacher of Irenseus of Lyons, 
and thus the connecting link between the apostolic and post- 
apostolic ages. As he died 155 at an age of eighty-six years or 
more, he must have been born A. D. 69, a year before the de- 
struction of Jerusalem, and may have enjoyed the friendship of 
St. John for twenty years or more. This gives additional weight 
to his testimony concerning apostolic traditions and writings, 
We have from him a beautiful epistle which echoes the apostolic 
teaching, and will be noticed in another chapter. 

Polycarp steadfastly refused before the proconsul to deny his 
King and Saviour, whom he had served six and eighty years, 
and from whom he had experienced nothing but love and 
mercy. He joyfully went up to the stake, and amidst the 
flames Braised God for having deemed him worthy " to be num- 
bered among his martyrs, to drink the cup of Christ's sufferings, 
unto the eternal resurrection of the soul and the body in the 
incorruption of the Holy Spirit." The slightly legendary ac- 
count in the letter of the church of Smyrna states, that the 
flames avoided the body of the saint, leaving it unharmed, like 
gold tried in the fire ; also the Christian bystanders insisted, that 
they perceived a sweet odor, as of incense. Then the execu- 
tioner thrust his sword into the body, and the stream of blood 
at once extinguished the flame. The corpse was burned after 
the Roman custom, but the bones were preserved by the church, 
and held more precious than gold and diamonds. The death of 
this last witness of the apostolic age checked the fury of the 
populace, and the proconsul suspended the persecution. 

20. Persecutions under Marcus Awrelius. A. D. 1^1-180, 

HARCTJS ATTRELIUS ANTONINUS : (b. 121, d. 180) : T# 

ifi, or Meditations. It is a sort of diary or common place book, in 
which the emperor wrote down, towards the close of his life, partly 
amid the turmoil of war " in the land of the Quadi " (on the 
Danube in Hungary), for his self-improvement, his own moral reflec- 
tions) together with striking maxims of wise and virtuous 

g 20. MAECUS AUBELXUS, A. D. 161-180. 53 

Ed. princeps by Xylander Zurich 1558, and Basle 1568; bested 
with a new Latin trans, and very full notes by Gataker, Lond. 1643, 
Cambr. 1652, and with additional notes from the French by Dacier, 
Lond. 1697 and 1704. New ed. of the Greek text by J. J7. tic/tufts, 
1802 (and 1821 ) ; another by Adamantius Corais, Par. 1816. English 
translation by George Long, Lond. 1863, republ. Boston, revised edi- 
tion, London, 1880. There are translations into most European 
languages, one in Italian by the Cardinal Francis Barberini (nephew 
of Pope Urban VIII), who dedicated his translation to his own soul, 
"to make it redder than his purple at the sight of the virtues of this 
Gentile." Comp. also the letters of the famous rhetorician M. Com. 
Fronto, the teacher of M. Aurelius, discovered and published by 
Angelo Mai, Milan 1815 and Borne 1823 (Epistolarum ad Mar cum 
Ccesarem Lib. V., etc.) They are, however, very unimportant, ex- 
cept so far as they show the life-long congenial friendship between 
the amiable teacher and his imperial pupil. 

A-BETOLD BODEK: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus als Freund und Zeitgeno&se 
les Rabbi JeTiuda ha-Nasi. Leipz. 1868. (Traces the connection 
of this emperor with the Jewish monotheism and ethics.) 

B. BENAN : Marc-Aurlle et la fin du monde antique. Paris 1882. This 
is the seventh and the last vol. of his work of twenty years' labor 
on the "Histoire des Origines du Christianisme.*' It is as full of 
genius, learning and eloquence, and as empty of positive faith as 
the former volumes. He closes the period of the definite formation 
of Christianity in the middle of the second century, but proposes in 
a future work to trace it back to Isaiah (or the "Great Unknown") 
as its proper founder. 

EUSEBIUS : H. E. V. 1-3. The Letter of the Churches of Lyons and 
Vienne to the Christians of Asia Minor. Die Akten des Karpus, des 
Papylus und der Agathonike, untersucht von AD. HABNACK. Leipz. , 

On the legend of the Legio fulminatrix see TEETULUAM' : ApoL 
5 ; ETJSEB. : H. E. V. 5. ; and DIGIT CASS. : Hist. LXXL 8, 9. 

Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher on the throne, was a 
well-educated, just, kind, and amiable emperor, and readied 
the old Roman ideal of self-reliant Stoic virtue, but for 
this very reason he had no sympathy with Christianity, and 
probably regarded it as an absurd and fanatical superstition. 
He had no room in his cosmopolitan philanthropy for the purest 
and most innocent of his subjects, many of whom served in his 
own army. He was flooded with apologies of Melito, Miltiades, 
Atheuagoras in behalf of the persecuted Christians, but turned 
a deaf ear to them. Only once, in his Meditations, does be 

54 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

allude to them, and then with scorn, tracing their noble en^ 
thusiasm for martyrdom to "sheer obstinacy" and love for 
theatrical display. 1 His excuse is ignorance. He probably 
never read a line of the New Testament, nor of the apologies 
addressed to him. 2 

Belonging to the later Stoical school, which believed in an 
immediate absorption after death into the Divine essence, he 
considered the Christian doctrine of the immortality of the soul, 
with its moral consequences, as vicious and dangerous to the 
welfare of the state. . A law was passed under his reign, punish- 
ing every one with exile who should endeavor to influence 
people's mind by fear of the Divinity, and this law was, no 
doubt, aimed at the Christians. 3 At all events his reign was a 
stormy time for the church, although the persecutions cannot be 
directly traced to him. The law of Trajan was sufficient to 
justify the severest measures against the followers of the " for- 
bidden" religion. 

About the year 170 the apologist Melito wrote : " The race 

1 Med. xi. 3 : M$ KCLT(L tyikriv irapdragw, &$ ol "KpiaTiavoi, a/Ua 
ffepv&c 'Kal, &OTE KCU aMov rreiffai , arpay^^. 

2 Bodek (Z. c. p. 82 sqq.) maintains, contrary to the common view, that Marcus- 
Aurelius was personally indifferent to heathenism and Christianity, that his acts 
of respect for the worship of the gods, related by Capitolinus and others, were- 
simply official tributes, and that the persecutions of the Christians did probably 
not originate with him. " Er war eben so wenig ein Fewd des Chwtenthims f 
als er ein Feind des Heidenthums war: was wie religioser Fanatismus aussah r 
war in Wahrheit nur politiscker Conservatimus" (p. 87). On the other hand,. 
Bodek claims for him a friendly sympathy with Judaism in its monotheistic 
and ethical features, and assumes that he had intimate relations with * 
Jewish rabbi. But there is nothing in his twelve books "De seipso el 
ad seipsum" which is inconsistent with an enlightened heathen piety under the 
unconscious influence of Christianity, yet hostile to it partly from ignorance 
of its true nature, partly from a conscientious regard to his duty as the pontifex 
maaJmus of the state religion. The same was the case with Trajan and Decius. 
Eenan (p. 262 sqq.) calls the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius " k livre le plus 
purement hurnain quttty ait. II ne tranche aucune Question contrwwse'e. En 
thfologie, Mare Aurtik flotte entire le d&ime pur, le polyth&sme enterpr&e' dam 
un sens physique, a la f won des stoiciens, et une sorte de panthewne cosmique." 

* "Si quis aliguid faerit, quo leves hominum animi superstitione numinis 
terrerentur, Dims Marcus hujumodi homines in insulam relegari rescripsit" 
Dig. XLVIIL tit. 19. 1. 13, quoted by Lecky in Hist. ofEurop. Morals, I. 441- 

?20. MAKCUS AURELIUS, A.D. 361-180. 55 

of the worshippers of God in Asia is now persecuted by new 
edicts as it never has been heretofore; shameless, greedy 
sycophants, finding occasion in the edicts, now plunder the in- 
nocent day and night." The empire was visited at that time 
by a number of conflagrations, a destructive flood of the Tiber, 
an earthquake, insurrections, and particularly a pestilence, which 
spread from Ethiopia to Gaul. 'This gave rise to bloody perse- 
cutions, in which government and people united against the ene- 
mies of the gods and the supposed authors of these misfortunes. 
Celsus expressed his joy that "the demon" [of the Christians] 
was " not only reviled, but banished from every land and sea," 
and saw in this judgment the fulfilment of the oracle: "the 
mills of the gods grind late." But at the same time these per- 
secutions, and the simultaneous literary assaults on Christianity 
by Celsus and Lucian, show that the new religion was con- 
stantly gaining importance in the empire. 

In 177, the churches of Lyons and Vienne, in the South of 
France, underwent a severe trial. Heathen slaves were forced 
by the rack to declare, that their Christian masters practised all 
the unnatural vices which rumor charged them with ; and this 
was made to justify the exquisite tortures to which the Christians 
were subjected. But the sufferers, " strengthened by the foun- 
tain of living water from the heart of Christ," displayed extra- 
ordinary faith and steadfastness, and felt, that " nothing can be 
fearful, where the love of the Father is, nothing painful, where 
shines the glory of Christ." 

The most distinguished victims of this Gallic persecution were 
the bishop Pothinus, who, at the age of ninety years, and just 
recovered from a sickness, was subjected to all sorts of abuse, 
and then thrown into a dismal dungeon, where he died in two 
days ; the virgin Blandina, a slave, who showed almost super- 
human strength and constancy under - the most cruel tortures, 
and was at last thrown to a wild beast in a net; Ponticus, a boy 
of fifteen years, who could be deterred by no sort of cruelty 
from confessing his Saviour. The corpses of the martyrs, which 
covered the streets, were shamefully mutilated, then burned, and 

56 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

the ashes cast into the Rhone, lest any remnants of the enemies 
of the gods might desecrate the soil. At last the people grew 
weary of slaughter, and a considerable number of Christians 
survived. The martyrs of Lyons distinguished themselves by 
true humility, disclaiming in their prison that title of honor, as 
due only, they said, to the faithful and true witness, the First- 
born from the dead, the Prince of life (Rev.l : 5), and to those of 
his followers who had already sealed their fidelity to Christ with 
their blood. 

About the same time a persecution of less extent appears to 
have visited Autun (Augustodunum) near Lyons. Symphorimis, 
a young man of good family, having refused to fall down before 
the image of Cybele, was condemned to be beheaded. On 
his -way to the place of execution his own mother called to him : 
" My son, be firm and fear not that death, which so surely loads 
to life. Look to Him who reigns in heaven. To-day is thy 
earthly life not taken from thee, but transferred by a blessed 
exchange into the life of heaven." 

The story of the "thundering legion" 1 rests on the fact of a 
remarkable deliverance of the Roman army in Hungary by a 
sudden shower, which quenched their burning thirst and fright- 
ened their barbarian enemies, A. D. 174. The heathens, how- 
ever, attributed this not to the prayers of the Christian soldiers, 
but to their own gods. The emperor himself prayed to Jupiter: 
" This hand, which has never yet shed human blood, I raise to 
thee." That this event did not alter his views respecting the 
Christians, is proved by the persecution in South Gaul, which 
broke out three years later. 

Of isolated cases of martyrdom in this reign, we notice that 
of Justin Martyr, at Rome, in the year 166. His death is 
traced to the machinations of Crescens, a Cynic philosopher. 

Marcus Aurelius was succeeded by his cruel and contemptible 
eon, Commodus (180-192), who wallowed in the mire of every 

1 Legiofdminatrix, icepawo<j>6poc. The twelfth legion bore the name Fulminata 
as fer back as the time of Trajan ; and hence it cannot be derived from this 

821. A.D. 193-249. f>7 

sensual debauchery, and displayed at the same time like Nero 
the most ridiculous vanity as dancer and singer, and in the 
character of buffoon ; but he was accidentally made to favor 
the Christians by the influence of a concubine/ Marcia, and 
accordingly did not disturb them. Yet under his reign a Roman 
senator, Apollonius, was put to death for his faith. 

21. Condition of the Church from Septimius Severus to Philip 
the Arabian. A. D. 193-249. 

CLEMENS ALEX. : Strom. II. 414. TERTULL. : Ad Scapulam, c. 4, 5 ; 
ApoL (A. D. 198), c. 7, 12, 30, 37, 49. 

Eespecting the Alexandrian martyrs comp. EUSEB.: VI. 1 and 5. 
The Acts of the Carthaginian martyrs, which contain their ipsis- 
sima verba from their diaries in the prisons, but bear a somewhat 
Montanistic stamp, see in BUIITABT, p. 90 sqq. 
LAMPRIDIUS : Vita Alex. Severi, c. 22, 29, 49. 

On Philip the Arabian see ETJSEB. : VI. 34, 36. HIERON. : Chron. 
ad ann. 246. 

J. J. MULLER : Staat und Kirche unter Alex. Severus. Zurich 1874. 
F. GORRES: Kaiser Alex. Severus und das Christenthum. Leipz., 1877. 
JEAN REVILLE : La religion d Rome sous Its Severes. Paris, 1886 (vii 
and 302 pp) ; Germ, trans! by Kruger, 1888. 

With Segtimius Severus (193-211), who was of Punic descent 
and had a Syrian wif, a line of emperors (Caracalla, Heliogaba- 
lus, Alexander Severus) came to the throne, who were rather 
Oriental than Roman in their spirit, and were therefore far less 
concerned than the Antonines to maintain the old state religion. 
Yet towards the close of the second century there was no lack of 
local persecutions ; and Clement of Alexandria wrote of those 
times : " Many martyrs are daily burned, confined, or beheaded, 
before our eyes." 

In the beginning of the third century (202) Septimius Severus, 
turned perhaps by Montanistic excesses, enacted a rigid law 
against the further spread both of Christianity and of Judaism. 
This occasioned violent persecutions in Egypt and in North 
Africa, and produced some of the fairest flowers of martyrdom. 

In Alexandria, in consequence of this law, Leonides, father 

58 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100^311. 

of the renowned Origen, was beheaded. Potamiaena, a virgin 
of rare beauty of body and spirit, was threatened by beastly 
passion with treatment worse than death, and, after cruel tor- 
tures, slowly burned with her mother in boiling pitch. One of 
the executioners, Basilides, smitten with sympathy, shielded 
them somewhat from abuse, and soon after their death embraced 
Christianity, and was beheaded. He declared that Potamisena 
had appeared to him in the night, interceded with Christ for 
him, and set upon his head the martyr's crown. 

In Carthage some catechumens, three young men and two 
young women, probably of the sect of the Montanists, showed 
remarkable steadfastness and fidelity in the dungeon and at the 
place of execution. Perpetua, a young woman of noble birth, 
resisting, not without a violent struggle, both the entreaties of 
her aged heathen father and the appeal of her helpless babe upon 
her breast, sacrificed the deep and tender feelings of a daughter 
and a mother to the Lord who died for her. Felicitas, a slave, 
when delivered of a child in the same dungeon, answered the 
jailor, who reminded her of the still keener pains of martyrdom: 
" Now I suffer, what I suffer ; but then another will suffer for 
me, because I shall suffer for him." All remaining firm, they 
were cast to wild beasts at the' next public festival, having first 
interchanged the parting kiss in hope of a speedy reunion in 

* The same state of things continued through the first years of 
Caracalla (211-217), though this gloomy misanthrope passed no 
laws against the Christians. 

The abandoned youth, El-Gabal, or Heliogabalus (218-222), 
who polluted the throne by the blackest vices and follies, 
tolerated all the religions in the hope of at last merging them in 
his favorite Syrian worship of the sun with its abominable 
excesses. He himself was a priest of the god of the sun, and 
thence took his name. 1 
His far more worthy cousin and successor, Alexander Severus 

1 Unless we should prefer to derive it from Sj* and ^^ "mountain of God." 

821. A.D. 193-249. 59 

(222-235), was addicted to a higher kind of religious eclecticism 
and syncretism, a pantheistic hero-worship. He placed the busts 
of Abraham and Christ in his domestic chapel with those of 
Orpheus, Apollonius of Tyana, and the better Roman emperors, 
and had the gospel rule, "As ye would that men should do to 
you, do ye even so to them," engraven on the walls of his palace 
and on public monuments. 1 His mother, Julia Mammaea, was a> 
patroness of Origen. 

His assassin, Maximinus the Thracian (235-238), first a 
herdsman, afterwards a soldier, resorted again to persecution out 
of mere opposition to his predecessor, and gave free course to 
the popular fury against the enemies of the gods, which was at 
that time excited anew by an earthquake. It is uncertain 
-whether he ordered the entire clergy or only the bishops to be 
killed. He was a rude barbarian who plundered also heathen 

The legendary poesy of the tenth century assigns to his reign 
the fabulous martyrdom of St. Ursula, a British princess, and her 
company of eleven thousand (according to others, ten thousand) 
virgins, who," on their return from a pilgrimage to Borne, were 
murdered by heathens in the neighborhood of Cologne. This 
incredible number has probably arisen from the misinterpretation 
of an inscription, like " Ursula et Undecimilla " (which occurs 
in an old missal of the Sorbonne), or " Ursula et XI M. V.," 
i. e. Martyres Virgines, which, by substituting milia for mar- 
tyres, was increased from eleven martyrs to eleven thousand 
virgins. Some historians place the fact, which seems to form 
the basis of this legend, in connexion with the retreat of the 
Huns after the battle of Chalons, 451. The abridgment of 
Mil.) which may mean soldiers (milites) as well as thousands 
(milia), was another fruitful source of mistakes in a credulous 
and superstition's age. ^ , . 

'jG-ordianus (238-244) left the church undisturbed/ ^Philip the 
Arabian (244-249) was even supposed by some to be a Chris- 
1 Yet he meant no more than toleration, as Lampridius says,- 22 (21) : Judab 

60 SECOND PERIOD. A. IX 100-311. 

tian, and was termed by Jerome " primus omnium ex xtomaim 
imperatoribus Christianus." I L is certain thai Origan wrote 
letters to him and to his wife, Severa. 

This season of repose, however, cooled the moral zeal and 
brotherly love of the Christians ; and the mighty storm under 
the following reign served well to restore the purity of the 

22. Persecutions under Deeius, and Valerian, A. D. 249-2(50, 
Martyrdom of Cyprian. 

DIOSTYSIUS ALEX., in Euseb. VI. 40-42; VII. 10, 11. 

CYPRIAJ* : De Lapsis, and particularly his Epistles of this period. On 
Cyprian's martyrdom see the Proconsular Acts, and PONTIUS : Vita 

FRANZ G-ORRES : Die Toleranzedicte des Kaisers Gallienus, in the " Jahr- 
bucher fur protest. TheoL," 1877, pp. 606-630. By the same : Die 
angebliche Christenverfolgung zur Zeit der Kaiser Numerianus md 
Carinusjin Hilgenfeld's "Zeitschrift fur wissensckaftl. Thcologic." 
1880 pp. 31-64. 

Decius Trajan (249-251), an earnest and energetic emperor, in 
whom the old Roman spirit once more awoke, resolved to root 
out the church as an atheistic" and seditious sect, and in the year 
250 published an edict to all the governors of the provinces, 
enjoining return to the pagan state religion under the heaviest 
penalties. This was the signal for a persecution vi which, in 
extent, consistency, and cruelty, exceeded all before it. In truth 
it was properly the first which covered the whole empire, and 
accordingly produced a far greater number of martyrs than any 
former persecution. In the execution of the imperial decree 
confiscation, exile, torture, promises and threats of all kinds, 
were employed to move the Christians to apostasy. Multitudes 
of nominal Christians, 1 especially at the beginning, sacrificed to 
the gods (sacrificati, thwrificdti), or procured from the magistrate 
a false certificate that they had done so (libdlatid}, and were 
then excommunicated as apostates (lapti)', while hundreds 

u Mtmmus fratrum numerus" says Cyprian. 

2 22. DECIUS, A. D. 249 r 260 61 

rushed with impetuous zeal to the prisons and the tribunals, to 
obtain the confessor's or martyr's crown. The confessors of 
Rome wrote from prison to their brethren of Africa : " What 
more glorious and blessed lot can fall to man by the grace of 
God, than to confess God the Lord amidst tortures and in the 
face of death itself; to confess Christ the Son of God with 
lacerated body and with a spirit departing, yet free; and to 
become fellow-sufferers with Christ in the name of Christ? 
Though we have not yet shed our blood, we are ready to do so. 
Pray for us, then, dear Cyprian, that the Lord, the best captain, 
would daily strengthen each one of us more and more, and at 
last lead us to the field as faithful soldiers, armed with those 
divine weapons (Eph. 6 : 2) which can never be conquered." 

The authorities were specially severe with the bishops and 
officers of the churches. Fabianus of Rome, Babylas of An- 
tioch, and Alexander of Jerusalem, perished in this persecution. 
Others withdrew to places of concealment ; some from cowardice : 
some from Christian prudence, in hope of allaying by their 
absence the fury of the pagans against their flocks, and of 
saving their own lives for the good of the church in better 

Among the latter was Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, who incur- 
red much censure by his course, but fully vindicated himself by 
his pastoral industry during his absence, and by his subsequent 
martyrdom. He says concerning the matter : " Our Lord com- 
manded us in times of persecution to yield and to fly. He 
taught this, and he practised it himself. For since the martyr's 
crown comes by the grace of God, and cannot be gained before 
the appointed hour, he who retires for a time, and remains true 
to Christ, does not deny his faith, buir only abides his time." 

The poetical legend of the seven brothers at Ephesus, who 
fell asleep in a cave, whither they had fled, and awoke two hun- 
dred years afterwards, under Theodosius II. (447), astonished 
to see the once despised and hated cross now ruling over city and 
country, dates itself internally from the time of Decius, but ia 
not mentioned before Gregory of Tours in the sixth century. 

62 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Under Gallus (251-253) the persecution received a fresh im 
pulse through the incursions of the Goths, and the prevalence of 
a pestilence, drought, and famine. Under this reign the Roman 
bishops Cornelius and Lucius were banished, and then con- 
demned to death. 

Valerian (253-260) was at first mild towards the Christians ; 
but in 257 he changed his course, and made an effort to check 
fche progress of their religion without bloodshed, by the banish- 
ment of ministers and prominent laymen, the confiscation of 
their property, and the prohibition of religious assemblies. 
These measures, however, proving fruitless, he brought the death 
penalty again into play. 

The most distinguished martyrs of this persecution under 
Valerian are the bishops Sixtus II. of Rome, and Cyprian of 

When Cyprian received his sentence of death, representing 
him as an enemy of the Roman gods and laws, he calmly an- 
swered : u Deo gratias I " Then, attended by a vast multitude 
to the scaffold, he prayed once more, undressed himself, covered 
his eyes, requested a presbyter to bind his hands, and to pay the 
executioner, who tremblingly drew the sword, twenty-five pieces 
of gold, and won the incorruptible crown (Sept. 14, 258). His 
faithful friends caught the blood in handkerchiefs, and buried 
the body of their sainted pastor with great solemnity. 

Gibbon describes the martyrdom of Cyprian with circum- 
stantial minuteness, and dwells with evident satisfaction on the 
small decorum which attended his execution. But this is no 
fair average specimen of the style in which Christians were exe- 
cuted throughout the empire. For Cyprian was a man of the 
highest social standing and connection from his former eminence 
as a rhetorician and statesman. His deacon, Pontius, relates 
that " numbers of eminent and illustrious persons, men of mark 
and family and secular distinction, often urged him, for the sake 
of their old friendship with him, to retire." We shall return 
to Cyprian again in the history of church government, where 
he figures as a typical, ante-Nicene high-churchman, advocating 


both the visible unity of the church and episcopal independence 
of Eome. 

The much lauded martyrdom of the deacon St. Laurentius 
of Eome, who pointed the avaricious magistrates to the poor 
and sick of the congregation as the richest treasure of the 
church, and is said to have been slowly roasted to death (Aug. 
10, 258), is scarcely reliable in its details, being first mentioned 
by Ambrose a century later, and then glorified by the poet 
Prudentius. A Basilica on the Via Tiburtina celebrates the 
memory of this saint, who occupies the same position among 
the martyrs of the church of Eome as Stephen among those of 

23. Temporary Repose. A. D. 260-303. 


Gallienus (260-268) gave peace to the church once more, and 
even acknowledged Christianity as a religio licita. ,And this 
calm continued forty years ; for the edict of persecution, issued 
by the energetic and warlike Aurelian (270-275), was rendered 
void by his assassination ; and the six emperors who rapidly fol- 
lowed, from 275 to 284, let the Christians alone. 

The persecutions under Carus, Numerianus and Carinus from 
284 to 285 are not historical, but legendary. 1 

During this long season of peace the church rose rapidly in 
numbers and outward prosperity. Large and even splendid 
houses of worship were erected in the chief cities, and provided 
with collections of sacred books and vessels of gold and silver 
for the administration of the sacraments. But in the same pro- 
portion discipline relaxed, quarrels, intrigues, and factions in- 
creased, and worldliness poured in like a flood. 

Hence a new trial was a necessary and wholesome process of 
purification. 2 

1 See Fraaz GorraB, I * f Eusebius, R. & YIH. 1. 

64 SECOND PERIOD. A.D, 100-311. 

24. The Diocletian Persecution* A. D. 303-311. 


EUSEBITTS: H. E. Lib. VIII. -X; De Martyr. Palcest. (ed, Cureton, Loud, 

1861) ; Vita Const, (ed. Heinichen, Lips. 1870). 
LAOTANTIUS : De Mortibus Persec. c. 7 sqq. Of uncertain authorship. 
BASILIUS M. : Oratio in Gordium mart. ; Oratio in Barlaham mart. 


BARONITTS : Annal. ad ann. 302-305. 
GIBBON: Chrs. XIII., XIV. and XVI. 

JAK. BITRCKHARDT : Die Zeit Constantins des GT. Basel, 1853, p. 325. 
TH. KEIM: Der Uebertritt Constantins des Gr. zum Christenthum. Zurich 

1852. The same : Die romischen Toleranzedicte fur das Chnstenthum 

(311-313), in the " Tub. Theol. Jahrb." 1852. (His. Rom und da* 

Christenthum only comes down to A, D. 192.) 
ALB. VOG-EL : Der Kaiser Diocletian. Gotha 1857. 
BERETHARDT: Diokletian in 8. Verhaltnisse zu den Christen. Bonn, 1862. 
HOTZIKER: Regierung und Christenverfolgung des Kaisers Diocletianus 

und seiner Nachfolger. Leipz. 1868. 

THEOD. PREUSS : Kaiser Diocletian und seine Zeit. Leipz, 1869. 
A. J. MASON: The Persecution of Diocletian. Cambridge, 1876. Pages 

370. (Oomp. a review by Ad. Harnack in the " Theol. Literaturzei- 

tung" for 1877. No. 7. f. 169.) 

THEOD. ZAHN : Constantin der Grosse und die Kirche. Hannover, 1876. 
BREEGER : Constantin der Gr. als ReligiompolitiJcer. Gotha, 1880. Comp. 

the Lit. on Constantine, in vol. III., 10, 11. 

The forty years' repose was followed by the last and most 
violent persecution, a struggle for life and death. S ' 

"The accession of the Emperor Diocletian is the era from 
which the Coptic Churches of Egypt and Abyssinia still date, 
under the name of the ' Era of Martyrs/ All former persecu- 
tions of the faith were forgotten in the horror with which men 
looked back upon the last and greatest : the tenth wave (as men 
delighted to count it) of that great storm obliterated all the traces 
that had been left by others. The fiendish cruelty of JSfero, the 
-jealous fears of Domitian, the nnimpassioned dislike of Marcus, 
the sweeping purpose of Decius, the clever devices of Valerian, 


fell into obscurity when compared with the concentrated terrors 
of that final grapple, which' resulted in the destruction of the 
old Koman Empire and the establishment of the Cross as the 
symbol of the world's hope." 1 

Diocletian (284-305) was one of the most judicious and able 
emperors who, in a trying period, preserved the sinking state 
from dissolution. He was the son of a slave or of obscure 
parentage, and worked himself up to supreme power. He 
converted the Roman republican empire into an Oriental 
despotism, and prepared the way for Constantine and Con- 
stantinople. He associated with himself three subordinate 
co-regents, Maximian (who committed suicide, 310), Galerius 
(<L 311), and Constantius Chlorus (d. 306, the father of Con- 
stantine the Great), and divided with them the government 
of the immense empire ; thereby quadrupling the personality of 
the sovereign, and imparting vigor to provincial administration, 
but also sowing the seed of discord and civil wax. 2 Gibbon 
calls him a second Augustus, the founder of a new empire, rather 
than the restorer of the old. He also compares him to Charles 
V., whom he somewhat resembled in his talents, temporary suc- 
cess and ultimate failure, and voluntary retirement from the 
cares of government. 

In the first twenty years of his reign Diocletian respected 
the toleration edict of Gallienus. His own wife Prisca, his 
daughter Valeria, and most of his eunuchs and court officers, 
besides many of the most prominent public functionaries, were 
Christians, or at least favorable to the Christian religion. He 

1 So Arthur James Mapon begins his book on the Persecution ofDwdetian. 

2 Mazimian (surnamed Herculius) ruled in Italy and Africa, Galerius 
'Armentarius) on the banks of the Danube, and afterwards in the East, Con- 
stantius (Chlorus) in Gaul, Spain, and Britain ; while Diocletian reserved to 
himself Asia, Egypt, and Thrace, and resided in Nicomedia. Galerius married 
a daughter of Diocletian (the unfortunate Valeria), Constantius a (nominal) 
daughter of Maximian (Theodora), after repudiating their former wives. 
Constantine, the son of the divorced Helena, married Fausta, the daughter of 
Maximian as his second wife (father and son' being married to two sisters). 
He was raised to the dignity of Csesar, July 25, 306. Sec Gibbon, chs. XHI 


66 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311.' 

himself was a superstitious heathen and an oriental despot. 
Like Aurelian and Domitian before him, he claimed divine 
honors, as the vicar of Jupiter Capitolinus. He was called, as 
the Lord and Master of the world, Soeratissimitt Dominux 
Noster; he guarded his Sacred Majesty with many circles of 
soldiers and eunuchs, and allowed no one to approach him ex- 
cept on bended knees, and with the forehead touching the ground, 
while he was seated on the throne in rich vestments from the far 
East, " Ostentation," says Gibbon, "was the first principle of 
the new system instituted by Diocletian." As a practical states- 
man, he must have seen that his work of the political restor- 
ation and consolidation of the empire would lack a firm and 
permanent basis without the restoration of the old religion of 
the state. Although he long postponed the religious question, 
he had to meet it at last. It could not be expected, in the 
nature of the case, that paganism should surrender to its dang- 
erous rival without a last desperate effort to save itself. 

But the chief instigator of the renewal of hostility, according 
to the account of Lactantius, was Diocletian's co-regent and 
son-in-law, Galerius, a cruel and fanatical heathen. 1 He pre- 
vailed at last on Diocletian in his old age to authorize the per- 
secution which gave to his glorious reign a disgraceful end. 

In 303 Diocletian issued in rapid succession three edicts, 
each more severe than its predecessor. Maximian issued the 
fourth, the worst of all, April 30, 304. Christian dhurches 
were to be destroyed ; all copies of the Bible were to be burned ; 
all Christians were to be deprived of public office and civil rights ; 
and at last all, without exception, were to sacrifice to the gods 
upon pain of death. Pretext for this severity was afforded by 
the occurrence of fire twice in the palace of Nicomedia in 
Bithynia, where Diocletian resided. 2 It was strengthened by 

* Lactantius (De Mart. P&rsec. c. 9), calls him "a wild beast," in whom 
dwelt "a native barbarity and a savageness foreign to Boman blood." H 
4ied at last of a terrible disease, of which Lactantius gives a minute account 
<ch ? 33). 

1 Lactantius charges! the incendiarism qn Galerius who, as a second Nero, 


the tearing down of the first edict by an imprudent Christian 
(celebrated in the Greek church under the name of John), who 
vented in that way his abhorrence of such "godless and tyran- 
nical rulers," and was gradually roasted to death with every 
species of cruelty. But the conjecture that the edicts were 
occasioned by a conspiracy of the Christians who, feeling their 
rising power, were for putting the government at once into 
Christian hands, by a stroke of state, is without any foundation 
in history. It is inconsistent with the political passivity of the 
church during the firsb three centuries, which furnish no ex- 
ample of rebellion and revolution. At best such a conspiracy 
could only have been the work of a few fanatics; and they, like 
the one who tore down the first edict, would have gloried in the 
deed and sought the crown of martyrdom. 1 

The persecution began on the twenty-third day of February, 
303, the feast of the T&rminalia (as if to make an end of the 
Christian sect), with the destruction of the magnificent church 
in Nicomedia, and soon spread over the whole Roman empire, 
except Gaul, Britain, and Spain, where the co-regent Constan- 
tius Chlorus, and especially his son, Constantine the Great (from 
306), were disposed, as far as possible, to spare the Christians. 
But even here the churches were destroyed, and many martyrs 
of Spain (St. Yincentius, Eulalia, and others celebrated by 
Prudentius), and of Britain (St. Alban) are assigned by later 
tradition to this age. 

endangered the residence for the purpose of punishing the innocent Christians. 
Constantine, who then resided at the Court, on a solemn occasion at a later 
period, attributes the fire to lightning ( Orat. ad Sanct. c. 25), but the repetition 
of the occurrence strengthens the suspicion of Lactantiua. 

1 Gibbon, ch. XVI., intimates the probability of a political plot. In speak- 
ing of the fire in the imperial palace of Nicomedia, he says: "The sus- 
picion naturally fell on the Christians ; and it was suggested, with some degree 
of probability, that those desperate fanatics, provoked by their present suffer- 
ings, and apprehensive of impending calamities, had entered into a conspiracy 
with their faithful brethren, the eunuchs of the palace, against the lives of two 
emperors, whom they detested as the irreconcilable enemies of the church of 
God." The conjecture of Gibbon was renewed by Burkhardt in his work on 
Constantine, pp. 332 ff., but without any evidence. Baur rejects it as artificial 
and very improbable. (Kirch&ngeseh. 1. 452, note). Mason (p. 97 sq.) refutes it 

68 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

The persecution raged longest and most fiercely in the East 
under the rule of Galerius and his barbarous nephew Maximin 
Daza, who was intrusted by Diocletian before his retirement 
with the dignity of Caesar and the extreme command of Egypt 
and Syria. 1 He issued in autumn, 308, a fifth edict of persecu- 
tion, which commanded that all males with their wives and 
servants, and even their children, should sacrifice and actually 
taste the accursed offerings, and that all provisions in the 
. markets should be sprinkled with sacrificial wine. This monr- 
strous law introduced a reign of terror for two years, and left 
the Christians no alternative but apostasy or starvation. 2 All 
the pains, which iron and steel, fire and sword, rack and cross, 
wild beasts and beastly men could inflict, were employed to 
gain the useless end. 

Eusebius was a witness of this persecution in C&sarea, Tyre, 
and Egypt, and saw, with his own eyes, as he tells us, the 
houses of prayer razed to the ground, the Holy Scriptures com- 
mitted to the flames on the market places, the pastors hunted, 
tortured, and torn to pieces in the amphitheatre. Even the 
wild beasts, he says, not without rhetorical exaggeration, at 
last refused to attack the Christians, as if they had assumed 
the part of men in place of the heathen Eomans ; the bloody 
swords became dull and shattered; the executioners grew weary, 
and had to relieve each other ; but the Christians sang hymns 
of praise and thanksgiving; in honor of Almighty God, even to 
their latest breath. He describes the heroic sufferings and 
death of several martyrs, including his friend, te the holy and 
blessed Pamphilus," who after two years of imprisonment won 

< l See Lactant., De Morte Perm. ch. 18 and 19, 32, and Gibbon, ch. XIV. 
(vol. II. 16 in Smith's edition). The original name of Maximin was Daza. 
He must not be confounded with Maximian (who was older and died three 
years before Mm). He was a rude, ignorant and superstitions tyrant, equal 
to Galerius in cruelty, and surpassing him in incredible debauchery (See 
Lact. I c. ch. 37 sqq.). He died of poison after being defeated by Licinius, 
in 313. 

3 See on this edict of Maximin, Euseb. Mart. Pal IX. 2 ; the Acts of Martyrs 
in Boll., May 8, p. 291, and Oct. 19, p. 428 j Mason, I c. 284 sqq. 


the civ wn of life (309), with eleven others a typical company 
that teemed to him to be "a perfect representation of the 

Eusebiiis himself was imprisoned, but released. The charge 
of having escaped martyrdom by offering sacrifice is without 
foundation. 1 

In this, as in former persecutions, the number of apostates 
who preferred the earthly life to the heavenly, was very great. 
To these was now added also the new class of the traditores, 
who delivered the holy Scriptures to the heathen authorities, to 
be burned. But as the persecution raged, the zeal and fidelity 
of the Christians increased, and martyrdom spread as by con- 
tagion. Even boys and girls showed amazing firmness. In 
many the heroism of faith degenerated to a fanatical courting 
of death ; confessors were almost worshipped, while yet alive ; 
and the hatred towards apostates distracted many congregations, 
and produced the Meletian and Donatist schisms- 

The number of martyrs cannot be estimated with any degree 
of certainty. The seven episcopal and the ninety-two Pales- 
tinian martyrs of Eusebius are only a select list bearing a simi- 
lar relation to the whole number of victims as the military 
lists of distinguished fallen officers to the large mass of common 
soldiers, and form therefore no fair basis for the calculation of 
Gibbon, who would reduce the whole number to less than two 
thousand. During the eight years 2 of this persecution the num- 
ber of victims, without including the many confessors who were 
barbarously mutilated and condemned to a lingering death in 
the prisons and mines, must have been much larger. But there is 
no truth in the tradition (which figures in older church histories) 
that the tyrants erected trophies in Spain and elsewhere with such 
inscriptions as announce the suppression of the Christian sect. 3 

1 Lightfoot vindicates him in his learned art. Eusd. in Smith and Wace, 
Diet, of Christ. Biogr. II. 811. 

2 Or ten years, if we include the local persecutions of Maximin and Licinius 
after the first edict of toleration (311-313). 

a As "Nowi'ne Chritfianorum deleto; superstitions Christiana ubique delete, ei 
etdtu Deorum propagate." See the inscriptions in full in Baronius ad ann. 304> 

70 SECOND PERIOD. A.D, 100-311. 

The martyrologies date from this period several legends, the 
germs of which, however, cannot now be clearly sifted from the 
additions of later poesy. The story of the destruction of the 
legio Thebaica is probably an exaggeration of the martyrdom 
of St. Mauritius, who was executed in Syria, as tribunus militum, 
with seventy soldiers, at the order of Maximin. The mar- 
tyrdom of Barlaam, a plain, rustic Christian of remarkable 
constancy, and of Gordius, a centurion (who, however, was tor- 
tured and executed a few years later under Licinius, 314) haa 
been eulogized by St. Basil* A maiden of thirteen years, St. 
Agnes, whose memory the Latin church has celebrated ever 
since the fourth century, was, according to tradition, brought in 
chains before the judgment-seat in Home; was publicly ex- 
posed, and upon her steadfast confession put to the sword ; but 
afterwards appeared to her grieving parents at her grave with 
a white lamb and a host of shining virgins from heaven, and 
said : <f Mourn me no longer as dead, for ye see that I live. 
Eejoice with me, that I am forever united in heaven with the 
Saviour, whom on earth I loved with all 'my heart." Hence 
the lamb in the paintings of this saint; and hence the conse- 
cration of lambs in her church at Rome at her festival (Jan. 
21), from whose wool the pallium of the archbishop is made. 
Agricola and Vitalis at Bologna, Gervasius and Protasius at 
Milan, whose bones were discovered in the time of Ambrose 
Janurius, bishop of Benevent, who became the patron saint of 
Naples, and astonishes the faithful by the annual miracle of the 
liquefaction of his blood, and the British St. Alban, who 
delivered himself to the authorities in the place of the priest 
he had concealed in his house, and converted his executioner, 
are said to have attained martyrdom under Diocletian. 1 

no. 8, 9 ; but they are inconsistent with the confession of the failure in the 
edict of toleration, and acknowledged to be worthless even by Gams (K. Gesh. 
v. Spani&n, I. 387). 

1 For details see the Martyrologies," the " Lives of Saints," also Baronius 
Annal. This historian is so fully convinced of the "wsigne et perpetuum 
miracidum sanguinis S. Januarii," that he thinks it unnecessary to produce any 
'v'tnes-*, since "tola Italia, et totus Christian orbis testis est locupletissimusV 
Ad ann. 305 no. 6, 


25. The Edicts of Toleration. A. D. 311-313. 

See Lit. in \ 24, especially EJEIM, and MASON (Persecution of JHodeiian, 
pp. 299 and 326 sqq.) 

This persecution was the last desperate struggle of Roman 
heathenism for its life. It was the crisis of utter extinction or 
absolute supremacy for each of the two religions. At the close 
of the contest the old Roman state religion was exhausted. 
Diocletian retired into private life in 305, under the curse of 
the Christians ; he found greater pleasure in planting cabbages 
at Salona in his native Dalmatia, than in governing a vast em- 
pire, but his peace was disturbed by the tragical misfortunes of 
his wife and daughter, and in 313, when all the achievements 
of his reign were destroyed, he destroyed himself. 

Galerius, the real author of the persecution, brought to reflec- 
tion by a terrible disease, put an end to the slaughter shortly 
before his death, by a remarkable edict of toleration, which he 
issued from Nicomedia in 311, in connexion with Constantine 
and Licinius. In that document he declared, that the purpose 
of reclaiming the Christians from their wilful innovation and 
the multitude of their sects to the laws and discipline of the 
Roman state, was not accomplished ; and that he would now 
grant them permission to hold their religious assemblies, pro- 
vided they disturbed not the order of the state.. To this he 
added in conclusion the significant iostruction that the Chris- 
tians, " after this manifestation of grace, should pray to their 
God for the welfare of the emperors, of the state, and of them- 
selves, that the state might prosper in every respect, and that 
they might live quietly in their homes." l 

1 M. de Broglie (L'figlise et V Empire, 1. 182) well characterizes this mani- 
festo : " Singulier document, moitie insolent, mottfe suppliant, qui commence par in- 
wtter les chrttiens etfinit par leur demander de prier leur mattre pour faL" Mason 
(I c. p. 299) : '* The dying emperor shows no penitence, makes no confession, 
except his impotence. He wishes to dupe and outwit the angry Christ, by 
pretending to be not a persecutor but a reformer. With a curse, he dashes 
his edict of toleration in the church's face, and hopes superstitiously that it 
will win him indemnity." 

72 SECOND PEBIOD. A.B. 100-311. 

This edict virtually closes the period of persecution in th 
Roman empire. 

For a short time Maximin, whom Eusebius calls "the chief 
of tyrants," continued in every way to oppress and vex the 
church in the East, and the cruel pagan Maxentius (a son of 
Maximian and son-in-law of Galerius) did the same in Italy. 

But the young Constautine, who hailed from the far West, had 
already, in 306, become emperor of Gaul, Spain, and Britain. 
He had been brought up at the court of Diocletian at Nicomedia 
(like Moses at the court of Pharaoh) and destined for his suc- 
cessor, but fled from the intrigues of Galerius to Britain, and 
was appointed by his father and proclaimed by the army as his 
successor. He crossed the Alps, and under the banner of the 
cross, he conquered Maxentius at the Milvian bridge near Rome, 
and the heathen tyrant perished with his army of veterans in the 
waters of the Tiber, Oct. 27, 312. A few months afterwards 
Constantine met at Milan with his co-regent and brother-in-law, 
Licinius, and issued a new edict of toleration (313), to which 
Maximin also, shortly before his suicide (313), was compelled to 
give his consent at Nicomedia. 1 The second edict went beyond the 
first of 311 ; it was a decisive step from hostile neutrality to 
friendly neutrality and protection, and prepared the way for the 
legal recognition of Christianity; as the religion of the empire. It 
ordered the full restoration of all confiscated church property 
to the Corpus Christianorum, at the expense of the imperial 
treasury, and directed the provincial magistrates to execute this 
order at once with all energy, so that peace may be fully es- 
tablished and the continuance of the Divine favor secured to 
the emperors and their subjects. 

This was the first proclamation of the great principle that 

1 It is usually stated (also by Keim, I c., Gieseler, Baur, vol. I 454 sqq.), 
that Constantine and Licinius issued two edicts of toleration, one in the year 
31% and one from Milan 'in 313, since the last refers to a previous edict; 
but the reference seems to be to directions now lost for officials which accom- 
panied the edict of Galerius (311), of which Constatine was a oo-signatory, 
There is no edict of 312. See Zahn and especiallv Mason (p. S28 sq.), alec 
Uhlhorn (Conflict, etc., p. 497, Engl. translation). 


every man had a right to choose his religion according to the 
dictates of his own conscience and honest conviction, without 
compulsion and interference from the government. 1 Religion is 
worth nothing except as an act of freedom. A forced religion 
is no religion at all. Unfortunately, the successors of Constan- 
tine from the time of Theodosius the Great (383-395) enforced 
the Christian religion to the exclusion of every other; and not 
only so, but they enforced orthodoxy to the exclusion of every 
form of dissent, which was punished as a crime against the state. 

Paganism made another spasmodic effort. Licinius fell out 
with Constantine and renewed the persecution for a short time 
in the East, but he was defeated in 323, and Constantine became 
sole ruler of the empire. He openly protected and favored the 
church, without forbidding idolatry, and upon the whole re- 
mained true to his policy of protective toleration till his death 
(337). This was enough for the success of the church, which 
had all the vitality and energy of a victorious power ; tfhile 
heathenism was fast decaying at its root. 

With Constantine, therefore, the last of the heathen, the first 
of the Christian, emperors, a new period begins. The church 
ascends the throne of the Caesars under the banner of the once 
despised, now honored and triumphant cross, and gives new 
vigor and lustre to the hoary empire of Home. This sudden 
political and social revolution seems marvellous ; and yet it was 
only the legitimate result of the intellectual and moral revolu- 
tion which Christianity, since the second century, had silently 
and imperceptibly wrought in public opinion. The very vio- 
lence of the Diocletian persecution betrayed the inner weakness 
of heathenism. The Christian minority with its ideas already 
controlled the deeper current of history. Constantine, as a 

i "Ut dar&mm et Christianis et omnibu* liberam potestatem sequ&ndi retigionGm, 
quam quiswnque wlumet." See Euseb. H. E.X.5; Lactant. De Mori. Pers. 
c. 48. Mason (p. 327) says of flie Edict of Milan : " It is the very first an- 
nouncement of that doctrine which is now regarded as the mark and principle 
of civilization, the foundation of solid liberty, the characteristic of modern 
politics. In vigorous and trenchant sentences it sets forth perfect freedom of 
conscience, the unfettered choice of religion." 

74 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

sagacious statesman, saw the signs of the times and followed 
them. The motto of his policy is well symbolized in his mili- 
tary standard with the inscription : " HOG signo vinces" 1 

What a contrast between Nero, the first imperial persecutor, 
riding in a chariot among Christian martyrs as burning torches 
in his gardens, and Constantine, seated in the Council of Nicsea 
among three hundred and eighteen bishops (some of whom as 
the blinded Confessor Paphnutius, Paul of Neocsesarea, and the 
ascetics from Upper Egypt clothed in wild raiment wore the 
insignia of torture on their maimed and crippled bodies), and 
giving the highest sanction of civil authority to the decree of 
the eternal deity of the' once crucified Jesus of Nazareth ! 
Such a revolution the world has never seen before or since, ex- 
cept the silent, spiritual, and moral reformation wrought by 
Christianity itself at its introduction in the first, and at its 
revival in the sixteenth century. 

26. Christian Martyrdom. 


IGNATIUS: Eplstolcz. Martyrium Poly carpi. TEBTULLIAIT : Ad Mar- 
tyres. ORIGENES : Exliortatio ad martyrium (KpoTpeKTiK.b$ Tidyoc els 
papTvptov.) CYPBIAK: Ep. 11 ad mart. PHTOENTIUS : Uepi crty&vuv 
hymni XTV. Comp. Lit. J 12. 

SAGITTARIUS : De mart, vnidatibus, 1696. 

H, DODWELL: De paudtate martyrum, in his Dmertationes Cyprianica. 

Lend. 1684. 

RUINAB/T (E. C.) : Prafatio generalis in Ada Martyrum. 
F. W. GASS : Das christl. Martyr&rihum in den ersten Jahrhunderten, in 

Niedner's "Zeitschrifb f. Mst. Theol." 1859 and '60. 
E. DE PBESSENSE: The Martyrs and Apologists. Translated from the 

French. London and N. Y. 1871. (Oh. II. p. 67 sqq.). 
CHATEATTBBIAKD : Les martyrs ou le triomphe de la reL chrfa. 2 vols. 

Paris 1809 and often (best Engl. trsl. by 0. IF. Wight, N. York, 

1859.) Has no critical or historical value, but merely poetical. 
Comp. in part Mrs. JAMESON: Sacred and Legendary Art. Lond. 1848. 
2 vols. 

1 For a fuller account of Constantine and his relation to the Chnrch. see the 
next volume. 


To these protracted and cruel persecutions the church opposed 
no revolutionary violence, no carnal resistance, but the moral 
heroism of suffering and dying for the truth. But this very 
heroism was her fairest ornament and stanchest weapon. In 
this very heroism she proved herself worthy of her divine 
founder, who submitted to the death of the cross for the salva- 
tion of the world, and even prayed that his murderers might 
be forgiven. The patriotic virtues of Greek and Roman an- 
tiquity reproduced themselves here in exalted form,- in self- 
denial for the sate of a heavenly country, and for a crown that 
fadeth not away. Even boys and girls became heroes, and 
rushed with a holy enthusiasm to death. In those hard times 
men had to make earnest of the words of the Lord : " -Whoso- 
ever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my 
disciple." " He, that loveth father and mother more than me, 
is not worthy of me." But then also the promise daily proved 
itself true: "Blessed arei they, who are persecuted for right- 
eousness' sake ; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." " He, 
that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it." And it ap- 
plied not only to the martyrs themselves, who exchanged the 
troubled life of earth for the blessedness of heaven, but also 
to the church as a whole, which came forth purer and stronger 
from every persecution, and thus attested her indestructible 

These suffering virtues are among the sweetest and noblest 
fruits of the Christian religion. It is not so much the amount 
of suffering which challenges our admiration, although it was 
terrible enough, as the spirit with which the early Christians 
bore it. Men and women of all classes, noble senators and 
learned bishops, illiterate artisans and poor slaves, loving 
mothers and delicate virgins, hoary-headed pastors and innocent 
children approached their tortures in no temper of unfeeling 
indifference and obstinate defiance, but, like their divine Master, 
with calm self-possession, humble resignation, gentle meekness, 
cheerful faith, triumphant hope, and forgiving charity. Such 
spectacles must have often overcome even the inhuman mur- 

76 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

derer. "Go on," says Tertullian tauntingly to the heathen 
governors, "rack, torture, grind us to powder: our numbers 
increase in proportion as ye mow us down. The blood of 
Christians is their harvest seed. Your very obstinacy is a 
teacher. For who is not incited by the contemplation of it to 
inquire what there is in the core of the matter ? And who, 
after having joined us, does not long to suffer ?"* 

Unquestionably there were also during this period, especially 
after considerable seasons of quiet, many superficial or hypo- 
critical Christians, who, the moment the storm of persecution 
broke forth, flew like chaff from the wheat, and either offered 
incense to the gods (thurificati, sacrifeati), or procured false 
witness of their return to paganism (libeUatici, from libellum), or 
gave up the sacred books (traditores). Tertullian relates with 
righteous indignation that whole congregations, with the clergy 
at the head, would at times resort to dishonorable bribes in 
order to avert the persecution of heathen magistrates. 2 But 
these were certainly cases of rare exception. Generally speak- 
ing the three sorts of apostates (lapsi) were at once excommu- 
nicated, and in many churches, through excessive rigor, were 
even refused restoration. 

Those who cheerfully confessed Christ J before the heathen 
magistrate at the peril of life, but were not executed, were 
honored as confessors* Those who suffered abuse of all kind 
and death itself, for their faith, were called martyrs or bloodr 

Among these confessors and martyrs were not wanting those 
in whom the pure, quiet flame of enthusiasm- rose into the wild 
fire of fanaticism, and whose zeal was corrupted with impatient 
haste, heaven-tempting presumption, and pious ambition; to 
whom that word could be applied : " Though I give my body 

1 Comp. a similar passage in the anonymous Ep. ad Diognetum, c. 6 and 7 a( 
the close, and in Justin M., Did. c. Tryph. Jud. c. 110. 

*Defuga in persee. c. 13: "Massaliter tote ecd&tiae trttutum sibi irrogt 

/, confessores, Matt. 10 : 32; 1 Tim. 6 : 12. 
t Acts 22: 20; Heb. 12: 1; 1 Pet 5: 1; Rev. 17: 6. 


to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing." 
They delivered themselves up to the heathen officers, and in 
every way sought the martyr's crown, that they might merit 
heaven and be venerated on earth as saints. Thus Tertullian 
tells of a company of Christians in Ephesus, who begged mar- 
tyrdom from the heathen governor, but after a few had been 
executed, the rest were sent away by him with the words : 
" Miserable creatures, if you really wish to die, you have pre- 
cipices and halters enough." Though this error was far less 
discreditable than the opposite extreme of the cowardly fear of 
man, yet it was contrary to the instruction and the Cample of 
Christ and the apostles, 1 and to the spirit of true martyrdom, 
which consists in the union of sincere humility and power, and 
possesses divine strength in the very consciousness of human 
weakness. 'And accordingly intelligent church teaqhers cen- 
sured this stormy, morbid zeal. The church of Smyrna speaks 
thus : " We do not commend those who expose themselves ; for 
the gospel teaches not so." Clement of Alexandria says: 
"The Lord himself has commanded us to flee to another 
city when we are persecuted ; not as if the persecution were an 
evil i not as if we feared death ; but that we may not lead or 
help any to evil doing." In Tertullian's view martyrdom per- 
fects itself in divine patience ; and with Cyprian it is a gift of 
divine grace, which one cannot hastily grasp, but must patiently 
wait for. 

But after all due allowance for such adulteration and de- 
generacy, the martyrdom of the first three centuries still 
remains one of the grandest phenomena of history, and an 
evidence of the indestructible, divine nature of Christianity. 

No other religion could have stood for so long a period the 
combined opposition of Jewish bigotry, Greek philosophy, and 
Roman policy and power ; no other could have triumphed at 
last over so many foes by purely moral and spiritual force, 
without calling any carnal weapons to its aid. This compre- 

i Comp. Matt. 10 : 23 ; 24 : 15-20 ; Phil. 1 : 20-25 ; 2 Tim. 4 : 6-8. 

78 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

hensrv-e and long-continued martyrdom is the peculiar crown 
and glory of the early church ; it pervaded its entire literature 
and gave it a predominantly apologetic character; it entered 
deeply into its organization and discipline and the development 
of Christian doctrine; it affected the* public worship and private 
devotions; it produced a legendary poetry; but it gave rise also, 
innocently, to a great deal of superstition, and undue exaltation 
of human merit; and it lies at the foundation of the Catholic 
worship of saints and relics. 

Sceptical writers have endeavored to diminish its moral effect 
by pointing to the fiendish and hellish scenes of the papal 
crusades against the Albigenses and Waldenses, the Parisian 
massacre of the Huguenots, the Spanish Inquisition, and other 
persecutions of more recent date. Dodwell expressed the opi- 
nion, which has been recently confirmed by the high authority 
of the learned and impartial Niebuhr, that the Diocletian per- 
secution was a mere shadow as compared with the persecution 
of the Protestants in the Netherlands by the Duke of Alva in 
the service of Spanish bigotry and despotism. Gibbon goes 
even further, and boldly asserts that "the number of Pro- 
testants who were executed by the Spaniards in a single pro- 
vince and a single reign, far exceeded that of the primitive 
martyrs in the space of three centuries and of the Eoman em- 
pire." The victims of the Spanish Inquisition also arte said 
to outnumber those of the Roman emperors. 1 

1 The number of Dutch martyrs under the Duke of Alva amounted, accord- 
ing to Grotius, to over 100,000; according to P. Sarpi, the B. Cath. historian, 
to 50,000. Motley, in his History of the Rise of the Dutch Republic, vol. H. 
504, says of the terrible reign of Alva : " The barbarities committed amid the 
sack and ruin of those blazing and starving cities are almost beyond belief; 
unborn infants were torn from the living bodies of their mothers; women and 
children were violated by the thousands ; and whole populations burned and 
hacked to pieces by soldiers in every mode which cruelty, in its wanton in- 
genuity, could devise." Buckle and Friedlander (III. 586) assert that during 
the eighteen years of office of Torquemada, the Spanish Inquisition punished, 
according to the lowest estimate, 105,000 persons, among whom 8,800 were 
burnt. In Andalusia 2000 Jews were executed, and 17,000 punished in a single 


Admitting these sad facts, they do not justify any sceptical 
conclusion. For Christianity is no more responsible for the 
crimes and cruelties perpetrated in its name by unworthy pro- 
fessors and under the sanction of an unholy alliance of politics 
and religion, than the Bible for all the nonsense men have put 
into it, or God for the abuse daily and hourly practised with 
his best gifts. But the number of martyrs must be judged by 
the total number of Christians who were a minority of the 
population. The want of particular statements by contemporary 
writers leaves it impossible to ascertain, even approximately, 
the number of martyrs. Dodwell and Gibbon have certainly 
underrated it, as far as Eusebius, the popular tradition since 
Constantino, and the legendary poesy of the middle age, have 
erred the other way. This is the result of recent discovery and 
investigation, and fully admitted by such writers as Eenan. 
Origen, it is true, wrote in the middle of the third century, 
that the number of Christian martyrs was small and easy to 
be counted ; God not permitting that all this class of men should 
be exterminated. 1 But this language must be understood as 
referring chiefly to the reigns of Caracalla, Heliogabalus, Alex- 
ander Severus and Philippus Arabs, who did not persecute 
the Christians. Soon afterwards the fearful persecution of 
Decius broke out, in which Origen himself was thrown into 
prison and cruelly treated. Concerning the preceding ages, his 
statement must be qualified by the equally valid testimonies of 
Turtullian, Clement of Alexandria (Origen's teacher), and the 
still older Irenseus, who says expressly, that the church, for 
her love to God, " sends in all places and at all times a multi- 
tude of martyrs to the Father." 2 Even the heathen Tacitus 
speaks of an " immense multitude" (ingens muttitudd) of Chris- 
tians, who were murdered in the city of Eome alone during the 

Kara Kaipovg not G$6dpa evapidfiTjroL rsOvfaaffi. Adv. Cels. III. & 
The older testimony of Melito of Sardis, in the well-known fragment from 
his Apology, preserved by Eusebius IV. 26, refers merely to the small number 
of imperial persecutors before Marcus Aurelius. 
2 Adv. Haer. IV. c. 33, ? 9 : Ecdesia omni in loco ob earn, quam habet ergo, Dwm 

80 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Neronian persecution in 64. To this must be added the silent, 
yet most eloquent testimony of the Koman catacombs, which, 
according to the calculation of Marchi and North cote, extended 
over nine hundred English miles, and are said to contain nearly 
seven millions of graves, a large proportion of these including 
the relics of martyrs, as the innumerable inscriptions and in- 
struments of death testify. ' The sufferings, moreover, of the 
church during this period are of course not to be measured 
merely by the number of actual executions, but by the far more 
numerous insults, slanders, vexations, and tortures, which the 
cruelty of heartless heathens and barbarians could devise, or 
any sort of instrument could 'inflict on the human body, and 
which were in a thousand cases worse than death. 

Finally, while the Christian religion has at all times suffered 
more or less persecution, bloody or unbloody, from the ungodly 
world, and always had its witnesses ready for any sacrifice ; yet 
at no period since the first three centuries was the whole church 
denied the right of a peaceful legal existence, and the profession 
of Christianity itself universally declared and punished as a 
political crime. Before Constantine the Christians were a help- 
less and proscribed minority in an essentially heathen world, 
and under a heathen government. Then they died not simply 
for particular doctrines, but for the facts of Christianity. Then 
it was a conflict, not for a denomination or sect, but for Chris- 
tianity itself. The importance of ancient martyrdom does not 
rest so much on the number of victims and the cruelty of their 
sufferings as on the great antithesis and the ultimate result in 
saving the Christian religion for all time to come. Hence the 
first three centuries are the classical period of heathen persecu- 
tion and of Christian martyrdom. The martyrs and confessors 
of the ante-lSTicene age suffered for the common cause of all 
Christian denominations and sects, and hence are justly held in 
reverence and gratitude by all. 



Dr. Thomas Arnold, who had no leaning to superstitious and idolatrous 
saint-worship, in speaking of a visit to the church of San Stefano at Rome, 
remarks : *' No doubt many of the particular stories thus painted will bear no 
critical examination ; it is likely enough, too, that Gibbon has truly accused 
the general statements of exaggeration. But this is a thankless labor. Divide 
the sum total of the reported martyrs by twenty by fifty, if you will ; after 
all you have a number of persons of all ages and seres suffering cruel torment? 
and death for conscience' sake, and for Christ's ; and by their sufferings mani- 
festly with God's blessing ensuring the triumph of Christ's gospel. Neither 
do I think that we consider the excellence of this martyr spirit half enough. 
I do not think that pleasure is a sin ; but though pleasure is not a sin, yet 
surely the contemplation of suffering for Christ's sake is a thing most needful 
for us in our days, from whom in our daily life suffering seems so far removed. 
And as God's grace enabled rich and delicate persons, women and even 
children, to endure all extremities of pain and reproach, in times past; so 
there is the same grace no less mighty now ; and if we do not close ourselves 
against it, it might be in us no less glorious in a time of trial." 

Lecky, a very able and impartial historian, justly censures the unfeeling 
chapter of Gibbon on persecution. " The complete absence," he says (History 
of HJuropean Morals, I. 494 sqq.), " of all sympathy with the heroic courage 
manifested by the martyrs, and the frigid, and in truth most unphilosophical 
severity with which the historian Las weighed the words and actions of men 
engaged in the agonies of a deadly struggle, must repel every generous nature, 
while the persistence with which he estimates persecutions by the number of 
deaths rather than the amount of suffering, diverts the mind from the really dis- 
tinctive atrocities of the Pagan persecutions It is true that in one 

Catholic country they introduced the atrocious custom of making the spectacle 
of men burnt alive for their religious opinions an element in the public fes- 
tivities. It is true, too, that the immense majority of the acts of the martyrs 
are the transparent forgeries of lying monks ; but it is also true that among 
the authentic records of Pagan persecutions there are histories which display, 
perhaps more vividly than any other, both the depth of cruelty to which 
human nature may sink, and the heroism of resistance it may attain. There 
was a time when it was the just boast of the Romans, that no refinement of 
cruelty, no prolongations of torture, were admitted in their stern but simple 
penal code. But all this was changed. Those hateful games, which made the 
spectacle of human suffering and death the delight of all classes, had spread 
their brutalising influence wherever the Roman name was known, had rendered 
millions absolutely indifferent to the sight of human suffering, had produced 
in many, in the very centre of an advanced civilisation, a relish and a passion 
for torture, a rapture and an exultation in watching the spasms of extreme 
agony, such as an African or an American savage alone can equal. The most 
horrible recorded instances of torture were usually inflicted, either by the 
populace, or in their presence, in the arena. "We read of Christians bound in 
chains of red-hot iron, while the stench of their half-consumed flesh rose in a 
Vol. II. 6. 

82 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

suffocating cloud to heaven ; of others who were torn to the very bone by shells, 
or hocks of iron ; of holy virgins given over to the lust of the gladiator or to 
the mercies of the pander ; of two hundred and twenty-seven converts sent on 
one occasion to the minea, each with the sinews of one leg severed by a red-hot 
iron, and with an eye scooped from its socket; of fires so slow that the victims 
writhed for hours in their agonies ; of bodies torn limb from limb, or sprink- 
led with burning lead ; of mingled salt and vinegar poured over the flesh that 
was bleeding from the rack ; of tortures prolonged and varied through entire 
days. For the love of their Divine Master, for the cause they believed to be 
true, men, and even weak girls, endured these things without flinching, when 
one word would have freed them from their sufferings. No opinwn we may 
farm of the proceedings of priests in a later age should impair the reverence with 
which we bend before the martyrs tomb. 

27. Rise of the Worship of Martyrs and Relics. 


In addition to the works quoted in JJ 12 and 26, comp. EUSEB. H. E. IV. 
15; De Mart. Palaest. c. 7. CLEM. ALEX.: Strom. IV. p. 596. 
ORIG. : Exhort, ad mart. c. 30 and 50. In Num. Kom. X. 2. TEH- 
TTJLL. : De cor. mil. c. 3 ; De Eesurr. earn, c- 43. CYPR. : De lapsis, 
c. 17 ; Epist. 34 and 57. CONST. APOST. : 1. 8. 


0. SAGITTARIUS: De natalitiis mart. Jen. 1696. 

SCHWABE : De insigni veneratione, guae obtinuit erga marlyres in primit. 
ecd. Altd.1748. 

In thankful remembrance of the fidelity of this " noble army 
of martyrs," in recognition of Hie unbroken communion of 
saints, and in prospect of the resurrection of the body, the 
church paid to the martyrs, and even to their mortal remains, a 
veneration, which was in itself well-deserved and altogether 
natural, but which early exceeded the scriptural limit, and 
afterwards degenerated into the worship of saints and relics. 
The heathen hero-worship silently continued in the church and 
was baptized with Christian names. 

In the church of Smyrna, according to its letter of the year 
155, we find this veneration still in its innocent, childlike form: 
" They [the Jews] know not, that we can neither ever forsake 
Christ, who has suffered for the salvation of the whole world 
of iihe redeemed, nor worship another. Him indeed ^e adore 
as the Son of God; but the martyrs we love a* 


they deserve (dfanto/jtev dcr^c), for their surpassing love to 
their King and Master, as we wish also to be their companions 
and fellow-disciples." l The day of the death of a martyr was 
called his heavenly birth-day, 2 and was celebrated annually at 
his grave (mostly in a cave or catacomb), by prayer, reading 
of a history of his suffering and victory, oblations, and cele- 
bration of the holy supper. 

But the early church did not stop with this. Martyrdom 
was taken, after the end of the second century, not only as a 
higher grade of Christian virtue, but at the same time as a 
baptism of fire and blood, 3 an ample substitution for the 
baptism of water, as purifying from sin, and as securing an 
entrance into heaven. Origen even went so far as to ascribe to 
the sufferings of the martyrs an atoning virjnie for others, an 
efficacy like that of the sufferings of Christ, on the authority 
of such passages as 2 Cor. 12: 15; Col. 1 : 24; 2 Tim. 4: 6. 
According to Tertullian, the martyrs entered immediately into 
the blessedness of heaven, and were not required, like ordinary 
Christians, to pass through the intermediate state. Thus was 
applied the benediction on those who are persecuted for right- 
eousness' sake, Matfr. 5: 10-12. Hence, according to Origen 
and Cyprian, their prayers before the throne of God caine to be 
thought peculiarly efficacious for the church militant on earth, 
and, according to an example related by Eusebius, their future 
intercessions were bespoken shortly before their death. 

In the Roman Catacombs we find inscriptions where the de- 
parted are requested to pray for their living relatives and friends. 

The veneration thus shown for the persons of the martyrs 
was transferred in smaller measure to their remains. The 
church of Smyrna counted the bones of Polycarp more precious 
than gold or diamonds. 4 The remains of Ignatius were held in 

1 Martyrium Polycarpi, cap. 17 ; comp. Ensebius, H. K IV. 15. 

2 'Hfiepa yerfflhtoe, yeviQfaa, natcdes, natalitia martyrum. 

3 Lavacrum samguinis, p&irTiapa 6ia rcvp6g t comp. Matt. 20: 22; Luke 12 : 50; 
Mark 10 : 39. 

* It is worthy of note, however, that some of the startling phenomena related 
in the Martyrium Polycarpi by the congregation of Smyrna are omitted in th 
narrative of Eusebius CIV. 1$). and may be a later interpolation, 

84 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311, 

equal veneration by the Christians at Antioch. The friend*, of 
Cyprian gathered his blood in handkerchiefs, and built a chapel 
over his tomb. 

A veneration frequently excessive was paid, not only to the 
deceased martyrs, but also the surviving confessors. It was 
made the special duty of the deacons to visit and minister tc 
them in prison. The heathen Lucian in his satire, " De morte 
Peregrmi," describes the unwearied care of the Christians foi 
their imprisoned brethren; the heaps of presents brought to 
them; and the testimonies of sympathy even by messengers 
from great distances; but ' all, of course, in Lucian's view, out 
of mere good-natured enthusiasm. Tertullian the Montanist 
censures the excessive attention of the Catholics to their con- 
fessors. The libelli paeis, as they were called intercessions of 
the confessors for the fallen commonly procured restoration to 
the fellowship of the church. Their voice had peculiar weight 
in the choice of bishops, and their sanction not rarely over- 
balanced the authority of the clergy, Cyprian is nowhere more 
eloquent than in the praise of their heroism. His letters to the 
imprisoned confessors in Carthage are full of glorification, in a 
style somewhat offensive to our evangelical ideas. Yet after 
all, he pr9tests against the abuse of their privileges, from which 
he had himself to suffer, and earnestly exhorts them to a holy 
walk ; that the honor they have gained may not prove a snare 
to them, and through pride and carelessness be lost. He 
always represents the crown of the confessor and the martyr as 
a free giffc of the grace of God, and sees the real essence of it 
rather in the inward disposition than in the outward act* 
Commodian conceived the whole idea of martyrdom in its true 
breadth, when he extended it to all those who, without shedding 
their blood, endured to the end in love, humility, and patience, 
and in all Chri#*V 



28. Literature. 


TACITUS (Consul 97, d. about 117) : Annal. xv. 4L Comp. Ms picture 
of the Jews, Histv. 1-5. 

TLIKCUS (d. about 114) : Ep. x. 96, 97. 

CELSUS (flourished about 150) : 'AA;?% ;Uyof. Preserved in fragments in 
Origen's Refutation (8 books Ka-& KfA^ov); reconstructed, trans- 
lated and explained by THEODOE KEIH: Celsus* Wahres Wort, 
Aelteste wissenschaftliche Sfreitschrift mdik&r Weltanschauung gegen 
das Cliristenthum, Zurich 1873 (293 pages). 

LUCIAN (d. about 180): ne/jt rfc TlEpsypivov refavrft, c . 11-16; and 
'AJl9% b7opta, I. 22, 30 ; II. 4, 11. 

POEPHYBITJS (about 300) : Kara XpLcriavav Myoi. Only fragments 
preserved, and collected by HOLSTER, Eom. 1630. His most im- 
portant works are lost. Those that remain are ed. by A. NAUCK, 


NATH. LAEDNER: Collection of Ancient Jewish and Heathen Testimonies 

to the Truth of m the Christian Religion (Lond. 1727-'57) in the VI. 

and VII. vols. of his Works, ed. by Kippis, London, 1838. Very 

MOSHEIM: Introduction to his Germ, translation of Qngen against 

Celsiis. Hamb. 1745. 
BnroEMAisrN : Celsus und seine Schriften gegen die Christen, in Illgen's 

" Zeitschr. fur hist. Theol." Leipz. 1842. N. 2, p. 58-146. 
AD. PLANCK : LuUan u. das Christenthum, in the " Studien u. Kritiken,' 

1851. N. 4 ; translated in the " Bibliotheca Sacra," Andover, 1852. 
F. CHE. BATTE : Das Christenthum der 3 ersten Jdhrli. Tub. seed. ed. 1860 

(and 1863) pp. 370-430. 
NEANDEE: General History of the Christian Religion and Church; EngL 

trans, by Torrey, vol. L, 157-178 (12'h Boston ed.) 


86 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

BlCHARB VON DER ALM: Die Urtheile heidnischer und judischcr 
Schriftsteller der vier ersten Jahrh. uber Jesus und die ersten Christen. 
Leipz. 1865. (An infidel book.) 

JEL KELLNEE (E. C.) : Hellenismus und Christenthum oder die geistige 
Reaction des antiken Heidenthums gegen das Christenthum. Koln 
1866 (454 pp.) 

B. AUBE: De PApologetique chretienne au II 6 siecle. St. Justin, philo- 
sophe et martyr, 2nd ed. Paris 1875. By the same : Histoire des Per- 
secutions de Peglise. The second part, also under the title La 
polemique paienne & la fin du II sibcle. Paris 1878. 

E. REBTAN: Marc-Aurlle (Paris 1882), pp. 345 (Celse et Luden), 379 sqq 
(NouveZles apologies). 

J. W. FAEEAR: Seekers after God. London, 1869, -new ed. 1877. (Es- 
says on Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, compared with 

Comp. the Lit. quoted in \ 12, especially UHLHORIT and KEIM (1881), 
and the monographs on Justin M., Tertullian, Origen, and other 
Apologists, which are noticed in sections treating of these writers. 

29. Literary Opposition to Christianity. 

Besides the external conflict, which we have considered in the 
second chapter, Christianity was called to pass through an 
equally important intellectual and literary struggle with the 
ancient world ; and from this also it came forth victorious, 
and conscious of being the perfect religion for man. We 
shall see in this chapter, that most of the objection^ of modern 
infidelity against Christianity were anticipated by its earliest 
literary opponents, and ably and successfully refuted by the 
ancient apologists for the wants -of the church in that age. 
Both unbelief and faith, like human nature and divine grace, 
are essentially the same in all ages and among all nations, but 
vary in form, and hence every age, as it produces its own 
phase of opposition, must frame its own mode of defense. 

The Christian religion found at first as little favor with the 
representatives of literature and art as with princes and 
statesmen. In the secular literature of the latter part of the 
first century and the beginning of the second, we find little 
more than ignorant, careless and hostile allusions to Christianity 
as a new form of superstition which then began to attract the 
attention of the Eoman government. In this point of view 


also Christ's kingdom was not of the world, and was compelled 
to force its way through the greatest difficulties ; yet it proved 
at last the mother of an intellectual and moral culture far in 
advance of the Graeco-Koman, capable of endless progress, and 
full of the vigor of perpetual youth* 

The pious barbarism of the Byzantine emperors Theodosius 
II. and Valentinian III. ordered the destruction of the works 
of Porphyrius and all other opponents of Christianity, to avert 
the wrath of God, but considerable fragments have been pre- 
served in the refutations of the Christian Fathers, especially 
Origen, Eusebius, Cyril of Alexandria (against Julian), and 
scattered notices of Jerome and Augustin. 

30. Jewish Opposition. Josephus and the Talmud. 

The hostility of the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees to the 
gospel is familiar from the New Testament. Josephus men- 
tions Jesus once in his Archaeology, but in terms so favorable 
as to agree ill with his Jewish position, and to subject the 
passage to the suspicion of interpolation or corruption. 1 His 
writings, however, contain much valuable testimony to the truth 
of the gospel history. His "Archaeology "throughout is a sort 
of fifth Gospel in illustration of the social and political environ- 
ments of the life of Christ. 2 His "History of the Jewish 
War," in particular, is undesignedly a striking commentary 
on the Saviour's predictions concerning the destruction of the 
city and temple of Jerusalem, the great distress and affliction 
of the Jewish people at that time, the famine, pestilence, and 
earthquake, the rise of false prophets and impostors, and the 
flight of his disciples at the approach of these calamities. 8 

The attacks of the later Jews upon Christianity are essen- 
tially mere repetitions of those recorded in the Gospels denial 

1 Joseph. Antiqu. 1. XVTIL c. 3, sect. 3. Comp. on this much disputed pas- 
sage, vol. I., p. 92. 

2 It is the special merit of Keim to have thoroughly utilized Josephus foi 
the biography of Jesus. 

8 These coincidences have been traced out in full by Lardner, Works, ed 
Kippis, vol. VI. p. 406 ff. 

86 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 


RICHARD VON DEB, ALM: Die Urtheile heidnischer und judischcr 
Schriftsteller der vier ersten Jahrh. uber Jesus und die ersten Christen. 
Leipz. 1865. (An infidel book.) 

H. KELLNER (R. C.) : Hdlenismus und Christenthum oder die geistige 
Reaction des antiken Heidenthums gegen das Christenthum. Koln 
1866 (454 pp.) 

B. AUB& : De P Apologetique chrUienne au II* siecle. St. Justin, philo- 
sophe et martyr, 2nd ed. Paris 1875. By the same : SRstoire des Per- 
secutions de PegHse. The second part, also under the title La 
poUmique pa'ienne & la fin du II siecle. Paris 1878. 

E. KEN-AN: Marc-AurUe (Paris 1882), pp. 345 (Celse et Laden), 379 sqq 
(Nouvelles apologies}. 

J. W. FAEEAB: Seekers after God. London, 1869, new ed. 1877. (Es- 
says on Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, compared with 

Comp. the Lit. quoted in \ 12, especially UHLHOBI*- and KEIM (1881), 
and the monographs on Justin M., Tertullian, Origen, and other 
Apologists, which are noticed in sections treating of these writers. 

29. Literary Opposition to Christianity. 

Besides the external conflict, which we have considered in the 
second chapter, Christianity was called to pass through an 
equally important intellectual and literary struggle with the 
ancient world; and from this also it came forth victorious, 
and conscious of being the perfect religion for man. We 
shall see in this chapter, that most of the objections, of modern 
infidelity against Christianity were anticipated by its earliest 
literary opponents, and ably and successfully refuted by the 
ancient apologists for the wants -of the church in that age. 
Both unbelief and faith, like human nature and divine grace, 
are essentially the same in all ages and among all nations, but 
vary in form, and hence every age, as it produces its own 
phase of opposition, must frame its own mode of defense. 

The Christian religion found at first as little favor with the 
representatives of literature and art as with princes and 
statesmen. In the secular literature of the latter part of the 
first century and the beginning of the second, we find little 
more than ignorant, careless and hostile allusions to Christianity 
as a new form of superstition which then began to attract the 
attention of the Eoman government. In this point of view 


also Christ's kingdom was not of the world, and was compelled 
to force its way through the greatest difficulties ; jet it proved 
at last the mother of an intellectual and moral culture far in 
advance of the Grseco-Roman, capable of endless progress, and 
full of the vigor of perpetual youth. 

The pious barbarism of the Byzantine emperors Theodosius 
II. and Valentinian III. ordered the destruction of the works 
of Porphyrius and all other opponents of Christianity, to avert 
the wrath of God, but considerable fragments have been pre- 
served in the refutations of the Christian Fathers, especially 
Origen, Eussbius, Cyril of Alexandria (against Julian), and 
scattered notices of Jerome and Augustin. 

30. Jewish Opposition. Josephus and the Talmud. 

The hostility of the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees to the 
gospel is familiar from the New Testament. Josephus men- 
tions Jesus once in tis Archaeology, but in terms so favorable 
as to agree ill with his Jewish position, and to subject the 
passage to the suspicion of interpolation or corruption. 1 His 
writings, however, contain much valuable testimony to the truth 
of the gospel history. His " Archaeology" throughout is a sort 
of fifth Gospel in illustration of the social and political environ- 
ments of the life of Christ. 2 His "History of the Jewish 
War," in particular, is undesignedly a striking commentary 
on the Saviour's predictions concerning the destruction of the 
city and temple of Jerusalem, the great distress and affliction 
of the Jewish people at that time, the famine, pestilence, and 
earthquake, the rise of false prophets and impostors, and the 
flight of his disciples at the approach of these calamities. 8 

The attacks of the later Jsws upon Christianity are essen- 
tially mere repetitions of those recorded in the Gospels denial 

1 Joseph. Antiqu,. 1. XVIII. c. 3, sect 3. Comp. on this much disputed pas- 
sage, vol. I., p. 92. 

2 It is the special merit of Keirn to have thoroughly utilized Josephus foi 
"the biography of Jesus. 

8 These coincidences have been traced out in full by Lardner, Works, ed 
Kippia, vol. VI. p. 406 ff. 

88 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

of the Messiahship of Jesus, and horrible vituperation of his 
confessors. We learn their character best from the dialogue 
of Justin with the Jew Trypho. The fictitious disputation on 
Christ by Jason and Papiscus, first mentioned by Celsus, was 
lost since the seventh century. 1 It seems to have been a rather 
poor apology of Christianity against Jewish objections by a 
Jewish Christian, perhaps by Aristo of Pella. 

The Talmud is the Bible of Judaism separated from, and 
hostile to, Christianity, but it barely notices it except indirectly. 
It completed the isolation of the Jews from all other people. 

81. Pagan Opposition. Tacitus and Pliny. 

The Greek and Eoman writers of the first century, and some 
of the second, as Seneca, the elder Pliny, and even the mild 
and noble Plutarch, either from ignorance or contempt, never 
allude to Christianity at all. 

Tacitus and the younger Pliny, contemporaries and friends 
of the emperor Trajan, are the first to notice it; and they 
speak of it only incidentally and with stoical disdain and 
antipathy, as an " exitiabilis superstitio" "prava et immodica 
.superstitio" " infleoribilis obstinatio" These celebrated and in 
their way altogether estimable Komaii authors thus, from mani- 
fest ignorance, saw in the Christians nothing but superstitious 
fanatics, and put them on a level with the hated Jews; Tacitus, 
in fact, reproaching iihem also with the "odium generis 
humani" This will afford some idea of the immense obstacles 
which the new religion encountered in public opinion, especially 
in the cultivated circles of the Eoman empire. The Christian 
apologies of the second century also show, that the most mali- 
cious and gratuitous slanders against the Christians were circu- 
lated among the common people, even charges of incest and 
cannibalism, 3 which may have arisen in part from a misappre- 

l 'Idffovoc Koi ILcnriffKov avrdoyia irepl Xptarov. Origenes Contra Cels. IV 
51. Celsus says, that he read the book which defends the allegorical interpre- 
tation, with pity and hatred. Comp. Harnack, AUchrisil. Lit&rafar, vol. I 
(1882), p. 115 sqq. 

* Qi6iir66eioi pii-eif, incesti conoubitus; and ftveareia deitrva, Thyestece epulce. 


hension of the intimate brotherly love of the Christians, and 
their nightly celebration of the holy supper and love-feasts. 

Their indirect Testimony to Christianity. 

On the other hand, however, the scanty and contemptuous 
allusions of Tacitus and Pliny to Christianity bear testimony to 
a number of facts in the Gospel History. Tacitus, in giving 
an account of the Neronian persecution, incidentally attests, 
that Christ was put to death as a malefactor by Pontius Pilate 
in the reign of Tiberius; that he was the founder of the Chris- 
tian sect, that the latter took its rise in Judaea and spread in 
spite of the ignominious death of Christ and the hatred and 
contempt it encountered throughout the empire, so that a " vast 
multitude" (multitudo ingens) of them were most cruelly put to 
death in the ciiy of Eome alone as early as the year 64. He 
also bears valuable testimony, in the fifth book of his History, 
together with Joseph us, from whom he mainly, though not 
exclusively takes his account, to the fulfilment of Christ's 
prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the 
overthrow of the Jewish theocracy. 

As to Pliny's famous letter to Trajan, written about 107, it 
proves the rapid spread of Christianity in Asia Minor -at that 
time among all ranks of society, the general moral purity and 
steadfastness of its professors amid cruel persecution, their mode 
and time of worship, their adoration of Christ as God, their 
observance of a " stated day," which is undoubtedly Sunday, 
and other facts of importance in the early history of the Church. 
Trajan's rescript in reply to Pliny's inquiry, furnishes evidence 
of the innocence of the Christians ; he notices no charge against 
them except their disregard of the worship of the gods, and 
forbids them to be sought for. Marcus Aurelius testifies, in 
one brief and unfriendly allusion, to their eagerness for the 
crown of martyrdom. 

32* Direct Assaults. CeUus. 

The direct assault upon Christianity, by works devoted to the 
purpose, began about the middle of the second century, and was 

90 SECOND PERIOD, A. D. 100-311. 

very ably conducted by a Grecian philosopher, Celsus, other* 
wise unknown ; according to Origen, an Epicurean with m&ny 
Platonic ideas, and a friend of Lucian. He wrote during the 
persecuting reign of Marcus Aurelius. 1 

Celsus, with all his affected or real contempt for the new 
religion, considered it important enough to be opposed by an 
extended work entitled " A True Discourse," of which Origen 
in his Refutation, has faithfully preserved considerable frag- 
ments. 2 These represent their author as an eclectic philosopher 
of varied culture, skilled in dialectics, and familiar with the 
Gospels, Epistles, and even the writings of the Old Testament. 
He speaks now in the frivolous style of an Epicurean, now in 
the earnest and dignified tone of a Platonist. At one time he 
advocates the popular heathen religion, as, for instance, its doc- 
trine of demons ; at another time he rises above the polytheistic 
notions to a pantheistic or sceptical view. He employs all the 
aids which the culture of his age afforded, all the weapons of 
learning, common sense, wit, sarcasm, and dramatic animation 
of style, to disprove Christianity ; and he anticipates most of 
the arguments and sophisms of the deists and infidels of later 
times. Still his book is, on the whole, a very superficial, loose, 
and light-minded work, and gives striking proof of the ina- 
bility of the natural reason to understand the Christian truth, 
It has no savor of humility, no sense of the oorruption of hu- 
man nature, and man's need of redemption ; it is full of heathen 
passion and prejudice, utterly blind to any spiritual realities, 
and could therefore not in the slightest degree appreciate the 
glory of the Redeemer and of his work. It needs no refuta- 
tion, it refutes itself. 

1 Oiigan (I. 8) indefinitely assigns him to the reign of Hadrian and the 
Antonines; most historians (Mosheim, Gieseler, Baur, Friedlander) to A. D. 
150 or later; others (Tillemont, Neander, Zeller) to about 160 or 170; Keirn 
(I c. p. 267) to A. D. 178. As the place of composition Keim (p. 274) sug- 
gests Rome, others Alexandria. He ably defends his identity with the friend 
of Lucian (p. 291), hut makes him out a Platonist rather than an Epicurean 

* See the restoration of Celsus from these fragments by Dr.*Keun, quoted above* 


Celsus first introduces a Jew, who accuses the mother of 
Jesus of adultery with a soldier named Panthera ; l adduces the 
denial of Peter, the treachery of Judas, and the death of Jesus 
as contradictions of his pretended divinity; and makes the 
resurrection an imposture. Then Celsus himself begins the 
attack^ and begins it by combating the whole idea of the super- 
natural, which forms the 'common foundation of Judaism and 
Christianity. The controversy between Jews and Christiana 
appears to him as foolish as the strife about the shadow of 
an ass. The Jews believed, as well as the Christians, in the 
prophecies of a Eedeemer of the world, and thus differed from 
them only in that they still expected the Messiah's coming. 
But then, to what purpose should God come down to earth at 
all, or send another down? He knows beforehand what is 
going on among men. And such a descent involves a change, 
a transition from the good to the evil, from the lovely to the 
hateful, from the happy to the miserable ; which is undesirable, 
and indeed impossible, for the divine nature. In another place 

he says, God troubles himself no more about men than about 
* K 

monkeys and flies. Celsus thus denies the whole idea of reve- 
lation, now in pantheistic style, now in the levity of Epicurean 
deism ; and thereby at the same time abandons the ground of 
the popular heathen religion. In his view Christianity has no 
rational foundation at all, but is supported by the imaginary 
terrors of future punishment. Particularly offensive to him 
are the promises of the gospel to the poor and miserable, and 
the doctrines of forgiveness of sins and regeneration, and of 
the resurrection of the body. This last he scoffingly calls a 
hope of worms, but not of rational souls. The appeal to the 
omnipotence of God, he thinks, does not help the matter, be- 

i ttdv&Jip, panthera, here, and in the Talmud, where Jesus is likewise called 
fcOHJ? J5 *BT is used, like the Latin lupa, as a type of ravenous lost hence 
as a symbolical name for /w^p. So Nitzsch and Baur, But Keim (p, 12) 
takes it as a designation of the wild rapacious (KO.V dqp&v) Roman soldier. 
The mother of Jesus was, according to the Jewish informant of Celsus, a 
poor seamstress, and engaged to a rtarpenter, who plunged her into disgrac* 
and misery when he found out her infidelity. 

92 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

cause God can do nothing improper and unnatural. He re* 
preaches the Christians with ignorance, credulity, obstinacy, 
innovation, division, and sectarianism, which they inherited 
mostly from their fathers, the Jews, They are all uncultivated, 
mean, superstitious people, mechanics, slaves, women, and chil- 
dren. The great mass of them he regarded as unquestionably 
deceived. But where there are deceived, there must be also 
deceivers ; and this leads us to the last result of this polemical 
sophistry. Celsus declared the first disciples of Jesus to be 
deceivers of the worst kind; a band of sorcerers, who fabri- 
cated and circulated the miraculous stories of the Gospels, 
particularly that of the resurrection of Jesus; but betrayed 
themselves by contradictions. The originator of the imposture, 
however, is Jesus himself, who learned that magical art in 
Egypt, and afterwards made a great noise with it in his native 

But here, this philosophical and critical sophistry virtually 
acknowledges its bankruptcy. The hypothesis of deception is 
the very last one to offer in explanation of a phenomenon so 
important as Christianity was even in that day. The greater 
and more permanent the deception, the more mysterious and 
unaccountable it must appear to reason. 

Chrysostom made the truthful remark, that Celsus bears wit- 
ness to the antiquity of the apostolic writings. This heathen 
assailant, who lived almost within hailing distance of St. John, 
incidentally gives us an abridgement of the history of Christ as 
related by the Gospels, and this furnishes strong weagons against 
modern infidels, who would represent this history as a later in- 
vention. " I know everything," he says ; " we have had it all 
from your own books, and need no other testimony ; ye slay 
yourselves with your own sword." He refers to the Gospels of 
Matthew, Luke, and John, and makes upon the whole about 
eighty allusions to, or quotations from, the New Testament. He 
takes notice of Christ's birth from a virgin in a small village 
of Judaea, the adoration of the wise men from the East, the 

8 33. LUCIAN. 93 

slaughter of the infants by order of Herod, the flight to Egypt, 
where he supposed Christ learned the charms of magicians, his 
residence in Nazareth, his baptism and the descent of the Holy 
Spirit in the shape of a dove and the voice from heaven, the 
election of disciples, his friendship with publicans and other low 
people, his supposed cures of the lame and the blind, and raising 
of the dead, the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter, the 
principal circumstances in the history of the passion and cruci- 
fixion, also the resurrection of Christ. 1 

It is true he perverts or abuses most of these facts; but ac- 
cording to his own showing they were then generally and had 
always been believed by the Christians. He alludes to some of 
the principal doctrines of the Christians, to their private assem- 
blies for worship, to the office of presbyters. He omits the 
grosser charges of immorality, which he probably disowned as 
absurd and incredible. 

In view of all these admissions we may here, with Lardner, 
apply Samson's riddle : " Out of the eater came forth meat, and 
out of the strong came forth sweetness." 2 

33. LuGian. 

Edd. of Lucian's works by Eemsterhuis and Eeiz (1743 sqq.), Jacolitz 
(1836-39), Dindorf(184Q and 1858), Be&Jcer (1853), Franc. Fritzsche 
(1860-'69). The pseudo-Lucianic dialogue -PhUopatris (^Uirarp^ 
loving one's country, patriot) in which the Christians are ridiculed 
and condemned as enemies of the Roman empire, is of a much later 
date, probably from the reign of Julian the Apostate (363). See 
Gesner : De cetate et auctore Philopatridis, Jen. 1714 

1 Keim (Geschickte Jesu von Nazara, I. 22) says of Celsus: " Von der Jung- 
fraugeburt bis sum Jammer des Todes bei JEssig und Galk, bis zu den Wundern 
des Todes und der Auferstehung hat er uns&re JSvangelien verfolgt, und anderen 
Qudlen, wdche mm Theft heute noch fliessen, hat er den Glauben an die Hats- 
liMeit Jem und an die Sundhaftigkeit seiner Junger abgewonnen." Comp. Kevm?* 
monograph on Cfefews, pp. 219-231. On the bearing of his testimony on the 
genuineness of the Gospel of John, see vol. I. p. 708. 

3 Judges xiv. 14. Comp. Lardner*s Works, vol. VII. pp. 210-270. Dr. 
Doddridge and Dr. Leland made good use of Celsus against the Deists of the 
last century. He may with still greater effect be turned against the more 
radical theories of Strauss and Eenan. For Keim's estimate, see his 

94 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

JACOB : CharakteristiJc Lucians. Hamburg 1822. 

G. BERNAYS : Lucian und die Oyniker. Berlin, 1879. 

Comp. KEIM : Cekus, 143-151 ; ED. ZELLEB : Alexander und Peregrinus^ 
in the " Deutsche Kundschau," for Jan. 1877 ; HENBY COTTEBILL : 
Peregrinus Proteus (Edinb. 1879); AD. HABNACK in Herzog (ed, 
TL), VIII. 772-779; and the Lit. quoted in \ 28.. 

In the same period the rhetorician Lucian (born at Samosata 
in Syria about 120, died in Egypt or Greece before 200). 
the Voltaire of Grecian literature, attacked the Christian re- 
ligion with the same light weapons of wit and ridicule, with 
which, in his numerous elegantly written works, he assailed the 
old popular faith and worship, the mystic fanaticism imported 
from the East, the vulgar life of the Stoics and Cynics of that 
day, and most of the existing manners and customs of the dis- 
tracted period of the empire. An Epicurean, worldling, and 
infidel, as he was, could see in Christianity only one of the many 
vagaries and follies of mankind; in the miracles, only jugglery; 
in the belief of immortality, an empty dream ; and in the con- 
tempt of death and the brotherly love of the Christians, to 
which he was constrained to testify, a silly enthusiasm. 

Thus he represents the matter in an historical romance on the 
life and death of Peregrinus Proteus, a contemporary Cynic 
philosopher, whom he makes the basis of a satire upon Chris- 
tianity, and especially upon Cynicism. Peregrinus is here pre- 
sented as a perfectly contemptible man, who, after the meanest 
and grossest crimes, adultery, sodomy, and parricide, joins the 
credulous Christians in Palestine, cunningly imposes on them, 
soon rises to the highest repute among them, and, becoming one 
of the confessors in prison, is loaded with presents by them, in 
fact almost worshipped as a god, but is afterwards excommuni- 
cated for eating some forbidden food (probably meat of the 
idolatrous sacrifices) ; then casts himself into the arms of the 
Cynics, travels about everywhere, in the filthiest style of that 
sect; and at last about the year 165, in frantic thirst for fame, 
plunges into the flames of a funeral pile before the assembled 
populace of the town of Olympia, for the triumph of philosophy 

? 34. NEOPLATOA.oitf. 95 

This fiction of the self-burning was no doubt meant for a parody 
on the Christian martyrdom, perhaps with special reference to 
Polycarp, who a few years before had suffered death by fire at 
Smyrna (155). 1 

Lucian treated the Christians rather with a compassionate 
smile, than with hatred. He nowhere urges persecution. He 
never calls Christ an impostor, as Celsus does, but a " crucified 
sophist/ 3 a term which he uses as often in a good sense as in the 
bad. But then, in the end, both the Christian and the heathen 
religions amount, in his view, to imposture ; only, in his Epicu- 
rean indifferentism, he considers it not worth the trouble to trace 
such phenomena to their ultimate ground, and attempt a philoso- 
phical explanation. 2 

The merely negative position of this clever mocker of all 
religions injured heathenism more than Christianity, but could 
not be long maintained against either ; the religious element is 
far too deeply seated in the essence of human nature. Epicure- 
anism and scepticism made way, in their turns, for Platonism, 
and for faith or superstition. Heathenism made a vigorous 
effort to regenerate itself, in order to hold its ground against the 
steady advance of Christianity. But the old religion itself could 
not help feeling more and more the silent influence of the new. 

34. Neo-Platonim. 

PLOTINTJS : Opera Omnia, ed. Oxf. 1835, 3 vols. ; ed. KirchhoiF, Lips. 
1856 j ed. Didot, Par. 1856 ; H. F. Muller, Berlin 1878-80. 

PORPHYBIUS: Kara Xpiariavuv Uyoi (fragments collected in Holstein: 
Dissert, de vita et scriptis Porphyr. Rom. 1630). His biographies of 
Pythagoras, Plotinus, and other works were ed. by A. Nauck, 1860. 

1 Harnack, Z. c. denies a reference to Polycarp. 

2 Berneys (I c. p. 43) characterizes Lucian very unfavorably: "em 
anscheinend nieht sehr gluddisher Adwcat, ist er ohne ernste Studien ins Literaten- 
tJvrni ubergegangen; unwissend und kichtfertig tragt er kdigiich eine niMistische 
Oede in Besmg auf atte rdigiosen und metaphysiscJien Fragen zur Scliau und reisst 
alles db wrkehrt und lacherlisJi herunter.' 1 Barneys thinks that the Peregrinus 
Proteus is not directed against the Christians, but against the Cynic philoso- 
phers, and more particularly against the then still living Theagenes. 

96 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

HlEEOCLES: Adyoi QdaMj&ete irpbf Xptariavoijc (fragments in Euseb.; 

Contra Hieroct. lib., and probably also in Macarius Magnes: 

"A7roKp<n/cof # Moyoyev/A, Par. 1876). 
PHILOSTEATUS : De, Vita Apollo till Tyanensis libri octo (Greek and 

Latin), Venet, 1501 ; ed. Waterman, Par. 1840 ; cd. Kayscr, Zurich, 

1853, 1870. Also in German, French and English transitions 


VOGT : Neuplatotmmm u. Christemhum. Berl. 1836. 

BITTEE : Gesv/L der Philos: vol 4th, 1834 (in English by Morrison, Oo~. 

NEANDEE : Ueber das neunte Buch w der zweiten Enneade des Plotinus. 

1843. (vid. Neander's Wissenschaftl. Abhandlungen, published by 

Jacobi, Berl. 1851, p. 22 sqq.) 
ULLMANN: Einflus des Chmtent.iums auf Porphyrius, in "Stud. u.Krit." 


KIECHITEII: Die Philosophic des Plotin. Halle, 1854. 
F. CHE. BAUE : Apollonius von Tyana u. C/ir-istiw. Tiib. 1832, republ. 

by Ed. Zeller, iu Drd Abhandhuigen zur Gesch. der altm Philosophic 

u. ihres Vcrh. mm Ohristenthum. Leipzig, 1876, pp. 1-227. 
JOHN 1L. NEWMAN : Apollonius Tyanceus. Loud. 1849 (Encycl. Metropol. 
" Vol. X., pp. 619-644). 
A. CHASSAI?G : Ap. de T., sa vie, ses voyages, sesprodigcs, etc. Paris, 1802, 

Translation from the Greek, with explanatory notes. 
H. KELLNEE : Porphyrius und scin Verhaltniss zum Chri&tenthum, in the 

Tubingen "Theol. Quartalschrift," 1865. No. I. 
ALBEET EEVILLE : Apollonius of Tyana, the Pagan Christ of the third 

century, translated from the French. Lond. 1866. 
K. MONKEBEEG: Apollonius v. Tyana. Hamb. 1877. 
FE. UEBEEWEG: History of Philosophy (Eng. transl. N. York, 1871), 

vol. I. 232-259. 
ED. ZELLEE : Philosophic der Griechen, III. 419 sqq. 

More earnest and dignified, but for this very reason more 
lasting and dangerous, was the opposition which proceeded 
directly and indirectly from Neo-Platonism. This system pre- 
sents the last phase, the evening red, so to speak, of the Grecian 
philosophy; a fruitless effort of dying heathenism to revive 
itself against the irresistible progress of Christianity in its 
freshness and vigor. It was a pantheistic eclecticism and a 
philosophico-religious syncretism, which sought to reconcile 
Platonic anS Aristotelian philosophy with Oriental religion and 
iheosophy, polytheism with monotheism, superstition with cul- 


fcure, and to hold, as with convulsive grasp, the old popular 
religion in a refined and idealized form. Some scattered Chris- 
tian idaas also were unconsciously let in; Christianity already 
nlled the atmosphere of the age too much, to be wholly shut 
out. As might be expected, this compound of philosophy and 
religion was an extravagant, fantastic, heterogeneous affair, like 
its contemporary, Gnosticism, which differed from it by formally 
recognising Christianity in its syncretism. Most of the Neo- 
Platonists, Jamblichus in particular, were as much hierophants 
and theurgists as philosophers, devoted themselves to divination 
and magic, and boasted of divine inspirations and visions. 
Their literature is not an original, healthy natural product, but 
an abnormal after-growth. 

In a time of inward distraction and dissolution the human 
mind hunts up old and obsolete systems and notions, or resorts 
to magical and theurgic arts. Superstition follows on the heels 
of unbelief, and atheism often stands closely connected with the 
fear of ghosts and the worship of demons. The enlightened 
emperor Augustus was troubled, if he put on his left shoe first 
in the morning, instead of the right; and the accomplished 
elder Pliny wore amulets as protection from thunder and 
lightning. In their day the long-forgotten Pythagoreanism 
was conjured from the grave and idealized. Sorcerers like 
Simon Magus, Elymas, Alexander of Abonoteichos, and Apol- 
lonius of Tyana (d. A. D. 96), found great favor even with the 
higher classes, who laughed at the fables of the gods. Men 
turned wishfully to the past, epecially to the mysterious East, 
the land of primitive wisdom and religion. The Syrian eultua 
was sought out ; and all sorts of religions, all the sense and all 
the nonsense of antiquity found a rendezvous in Home. Even 
a succession of Roman emperors, from Septimius Severus, at 
the close of the second century, to Alexander Severus, embraced 
this religious syncretism, which, instead of supporting the old 
Roman state religion, helped to undermine it. 1 

1 The oldeM apostle of this storage medley of Hellenic, Persian, Chaldean, 
Vol. II, *. 

98 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-811. 

After the beginning of the third century this tendency found 
philosophical expression and took a reformatory turn in Neo- 
Platonism. The magic power, which was thought able to 
reanimate all these various elements and reduce them to har- 
mony, and to put deep meaning into the old mythology, was the 
philosophy of the divine Plato; which in truth possessed 
essentially a mystical character, and was used also by learned 
Jews, like Philo, and by Christians, like Origen, in their 
idealizing efforts and their arbitrary allegorical expositions of 
offensive passages of the Bible. In this view we may find 
among heathen writers a sort of forerunner of the Neo- 
Platonists in the pious and noble-minded Platonist, Plutarch 
of Bceotia (d. 120), who likewise saw a deeper sense in the 
myths of the popular polytheistic faith, and in general, in his 
comparative biographies and his admirable moral treatises, looks 
at the fairest and noblest side of the Grseco-Boman antiquity, 
but often wanders off into the trackless regions of fancy. 

The proper founder of Neo-Platonism was Ammonius Sa<jcas, 
" of Alexandria, who was born of Christian parents, but aposta- 
tized, and died in the year 243. His more distinguished pupil, 
Plotinus, also an Egyptian (204r-269), developed the Neo- 
Platonic ideas in systematic form, and gave them firm foothold 
and wide currency, particularly in Rome, where he taught 
philosophy. The system was propagated by his pupil Porphyry 
of Tyre (d. 304), who likewise taught in Rome, by Jamblichus 

and Egyptian mysteries in Borne was Nigidius Figulus, who belonged to the 
strictest section of the aristocracy, and filled the praetorship in 696 A- U. 
(58 B. c.) He foretold the father of the subsequent emperor Augustus on the 
very day of his birth his future greatness. The system was consecrated by 
the name of Pythagoras, the primeval sage of Italian birth, the miracle- 
worker and necromancer. The new and old wisdom made a profound im- 
pression on men of the highest rank and greatest learning, who took part in 
the citation of spirits, as in the nineteenth century spirit-rapping and table- 
moving exercised for a while a similar charm. "These last attempts to save 
the Roman theology, like the similar efforts of Cato in the field of politics, 
produce at once a comical and a melancholy impression. We may smile at 
the creed and its propagators, but still it is a grave matter when all men begin 
to addict themselves to absurdity." Th. Mommsen, History of Rome, vol. IV 
p* 563 (Dickson's translation, Ix)n<J. 1867,1 

g 34. NEO-PLATONISM. 99 

of Chalcis in Coelo-Syria (d. 333), and by Proclus of Con- 
stantinople (d. 485). It supplanted the popular religion among 
the educated classes of later heathendom, and held its ground 
until the end of the fifth century, when it perished of its own 
internal falsehood and contradictions. 

Prom its love for the ideal, the supernatural, and the mys- 
tical, this system, like the original Platonism, might become for 
many philosophical minds a bridge to faith; and so it was even to 
St. Augustin, whom it delivered from the bondage of scepticism, 
and filled with a burning thirst for truth and wisdom. But it 
could also work against Christianity. Neo-Platonism was, in 
fact, a direct attempt of the more intelligent and earnest 
heathenism to rally all its nobler energies, especially the forces 
of Hellenic philosophy and Oriental mysticism, and to found a 
universal religion, a pagan counterpart to the Christian. Plo- 
tinus, in his opposition to Gnosticism, assailed also, though not 
expressly, the Christian element it contained. On their syn 
cretistic principles the Neo-Platonists could indeed reverence 
Christ as a great sage and a hero of virtue, but not as the Son 
of God. They ranked the wise men of heathendom with him. 
The emperor Alexander Severus (d. 235) gave Orpheus and 
Apollonius of Tyana a place in his lararium by the side of the 
bust of Jesus, 

The rhetorician Pliilostratus, the elder, about the year 
220, at the request of Julia Domna, the wife of Septimius 
Severus, and a zealous patron of the reform of paganism, 
idealized the life of the pagan magician and soothsayer Apol- 
lonius, of the Pythagorean school, and made him out an ascetic 
saint, a divinely inspired philosopher, a religious reformer and 
worker of miracles, with the purpose, as is generally assumed, 
though without direct evidence, of holding him up as a rival of 
Christ with equal claims to the worship of men. 1 

1 PMlostratus himself gives no intimation of such design on his part, and 
simply states that he was requested by the empress Julia Domna (A.D. 217), to 
draw up a biography of Apollonius from certain memoranda of Damis, one of 
his Mends and followers. The name of Christ is never mentioned by him; 

100 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

The points of resemblance are chiefly these : Jesus was the 
Son of God, Apollonius the son of Jupiter ; the birth of Christ 
was celebrated by the appearance of angels, that of Apollonius 
by a flash of lightning; Christ raised the daughter of Jairus, 
Apollonius a young Eoman maiden, from the dead ; Christ cast 
out demons, Apollonius did the same ; Christ rose from the 
dead, Apollonius appeared after his death. Apollonius is made 
to combine also several characteristics of the apostles, as the 
miraculous gift of tongues, for he understood all the languages 
of the world. Like St. Paul, he received his earlier education at 
Tarsus, labored at Antioch, Ephesus, and other cities, and was per- 
secuted by Nero. Like the early Christians, he was falsely ac- 
cused of sacrificing children with certain mysterioas ceremonies. 1 

With the same secret polemical aim Porphyry and Jamblichus 
embellished the life of Pythagoras, and set him forth as the 
highest model of wisdom, even a divine being incarnate, a 
Christ of heathenism. 

These various attempts to Christianize paganism were of 
course as abortive as so many attempts to galvanize a corpse. 
They made no impression upon their age, much less upon ages 
following. They were indirect arguments in favor of Chris- 
tianity: they proved the internal decay of the false, and the 
irresistible progress of the true religion, which began to mould 
the spirit of the age and to affect public opinion outside of the 
church. By inventing false characters in imitation of Christ 

nor does he allude to the Gospels, except in one instance, where he uses the 
same phrase as the daemon in St. Luke (viii. 28) : ' I beseech thee, torment 
me not (tf pe paaavlcw.). Vita Apott. IV. 25. Bishop Samuel Parker, in * 
work on the Divine Authority of the Christian Religion (1681), Lardner, 
Neander (K G. I. 298), and J. S. Watson (in a review of Re*ville's Apoll of 
T., in the "Contemporary Review" for 1867, p. 199 ff.), deny the commonly 
received opinion, first maintained by Bishop Daniel Hust, and defended by 
Baur, Newman, and Re*ville, that Philostratus intended to draw a parallel 
between his hero and Christ. The resemblance is studied and fictitious, and 
rt is certain that at a later date Hierocles vainly endeavored to lower the 
dignity of Christ by raising this Pythagorean adventurer as portrayed by 
Philostratus, to a level with the eternal Son of God. 

1 Comp. the account of the resemblance by Baur, /. c. pp. 138 sqq. 


they indirectly conceded to the historical Christ his claim to the 
admiration and praise of mankind. 

35. Porphyry and Hierodes. 
See the Lit. in { 34. 

One of the leading Neo-Platonists made a direct attack upon 
Christianity, and was, in the eyes of the church fathers, its 
bitterest and most dangerous enemy. Towards the end of the 
third century Porphyry wrote an extended work against the 
Christians, in fifteen books, which called forth numerous 
refutations from the most eminent church teachers of the time, 
particularly from Methodius of Tyre, Eusebius of Csesarea, and 
Apollinaris of Laodicea. In 448 all the copies were burned by 
order of the emperors Theodosius II. and Valentinian IIL, and 
we know the work now only from fragments in the fathers. 

Porphyry attacked especially the sacred books of the Chris- 
tians, with more knowledge than Celsus. He endeavored, with 
keen criticism, to point out the contradictions between the Old 
Testament and the New, and among the apostles themselves ; 
and thus to refute the divinity of their writings. He 
represented the prophecies of Daniel as vatidnia post euentoi, 
and censured the allegorical interpretation of Origen, by which 
transcendental mysteries were foisted into the writings of 
Moses, contrary to their clear sense. He took advantage, above 
all, of the collision between Paul and Peter at Antioch (Gal. 
2: 11), to reproach the former with a contentious spirit, the 
latter with error, and to infer from the whole, that the doctrine 
of such apostles must rest on lies and frauds. Even Jesus 
himself he charged with equivocation and inconsistency, on 
account of his conduct in John 7 : 8 compared with verse 14. 

Still Porphyry would not wholly reject Christianity. Like 
many rationalists of more recent times, he distinguished the 
original pure doctrine of Jesus from the second-handed, 
adulterated doctrine of the apostles. In another work 1 on the 

1 ILepl rsfr K fayiw ftfovoftac. Fabricius, Mosheim, Neander, and othen^ 
freat the work as genuine, but Lardner denies it to Porphyry. 

102 SECOND PEEIOD. A, D. 100-311. 

" Philosophy of Oracles," often quoted by Eusebius, and also 
by Augustin, 1 he says, we must not calumniate Christ, who was 
most eminent for piety, but only pity those who worship him 
as God. " That pious soul, exalted to heaven, is become, by a 
sort of fate, an occasion of delusion to those souls from whom 
fortune withholds the gifts of the gods and the knowledge of 
the immortal Zeus." Still more remarkable in this view is a 
letter to his wife Maxcella, which A. Mai published at Milan in 
1816, in the unfounded opinion that Marcella was a Christian. 
In the course of this letter Porphyry remarks, that what is 
born of the flesh is flesh; that by faith, love, and hope we 
raise ourselves to the Deity; that evil is the fault of man ; that 
God is holy ; that the most acceptable sacrifice to him is a pure 
heart; that the wise man is at once a temple of God and a 
priest in that temple. For these and other such evidently 
Christian. ideas and phrases he no doubt had a sense of his own, 
which materially differed from their proper scriptural meaning. 
But such things show how Christianity in that day exerted, 
even upon its opponents, a power, to which heathenism was 
forced to yield an unwilling assent. 

The last literary antagonist of Christianity in our period is 
Hierocles, who, while governor of Bythynia, and afterwards of 
Alexandria under Diocletian, persecuted that religion also with 
the sword, and exposed Christian maidens to a worse fate than 
death. His "Truth-loving Words to the Christians" has been 
destroyed, like Porphyry's work, by the mistaken zeal of Chris- 
tian emperors, and is known to us only through the answer of 
Eusebius of Csesarea. 2 He appears to have merely repeated the 
objections of Celsus and Porphyry, and to have drawn a 

* De (Mt. Dei, I. XIX. c. 22, 23; comp. also Eusebius, Dmonstr. Evmg. 

m. 6. 

2 To this may be added the extracts from an unnamed heathen philosopher 
(probably Hierocles or Porphyrius) in the apologetic work of Macarius Magnes 
(about 400), which was discovered at Athens in 1867, and published by Blon- 
del, Paris 1876. See L. Duchesne, De Marcario Magneto et smptis efus, Pan 
1877, and Zockler in Herzog, ed. II. vol. IX. 160. 


comparison between Christ and Apollonius of Tyana, which 
resulted in favor of the latter. The Christians, says he, con- 
sider Jesus a God, on account of some insignificant miracles 
falsely colored up by his apostles; but the heathens far more 
justly declare the greater wonder-worker Apollonius, as well as 
an Aristeas and a Pythagoras, simply a favorite of the gods and 
a benefactor of men. 

36. Summary of the Objections to Christianity. 

In general the leading arguments of the Judaism and 
heathenism of this period against the new religion are the 
following : 

1. Against Christ: his illegitimate birth; his association 
with poor, unlettered fishermen, and rude publicans : his fora* 
of a- servant, and his ignominious death. But the opposition 
to him gradually ceased. While Celsus called him a downright 
impostor, the Syncretists and Neo-Platonists were disposed to 
regard him as at least a distinguished sage. 

2. Against Christianity: its novelty; its barbarian origin; 
its want of a national basis; the alleged absurdity of some 
of its facts and doctrines, particularly of regeneration and the 
resurrection; contradictions between the Old and New Testa- 
ments, among the Gospels, and between Paul and Peter; the 
demand for a blind, irrational faith. 

3. Against the Christians: atheism, or hatred of the gods; 
the worship of a crucified malefactor; poverty, and want of 
culture and standing; desire of innovation; division and sec- 
tarianism; want of patriotism; gloomy seriousness ; credulity; 
superstition, and fanaticism. Sometimes they were charged 
even with unnatural crimes, like those related in the pagan 
mythology of Oedipus^ and his mother Jocaste (concubitus 
Oedipodei], and of Thyestes ,and Atreus (epulce Thyestece). 
Perhaps some Gnostic 'sects ran into scandalous excesses; 
but as against the Christians in general this charge was so 
clearly unfounded, that it is not noticed even by Celsus and 

104 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Lucian. The senseless accusation, that they worshipped an 
ass's head, may have arisen, as Tertullian already intimates, 1 
from a story of Tacitus, respecting some Jews, who were once 
directed by a wild ass to fresh water, and thus relieved from 
the torture of thirst; and it is worth mentioning, only to show 
how passionate and blind was the opposition with which Chris- 
tianity in this period of persecution had to contend. 

37. The Apologetic Literature of Christianity. 
Comp. Lit. in ? 1 and 12. 

L The sources are all the writings of the Apologists of the second and 
third centuries ; particularly JUSTIN M. : Apologia I. and //. / 
Contra Celsum (ard K&aou) libr. VIII. ARISTIDIS, Philosophi 
Atheniensis, Sermones duo, Venetiis 1878. (From an Armenian 
translation). Complete editions of the Apologists : Apologg. Christ. 
Opp. ed. Prud. Maranus, Par. 1742; Corpus Apologetarum Chris- 
tianorum sosculi secundi, ed. Th. Otto, Jenae, 1847 sqq. ed. III. 
1876 sqq. A new ed. by 0. v. Q-ebhardt and E. Schwartz, begun 1888. 

II. FABRICIUS: Delectus argumentorum et Syllabus scriptorum, qui verita- 
tem reL Christ, asseruerunt. Hamb. 1725. 

TZSCHTRITER: Geschichte d&r Apologetik. Lpz. 1805 (unfinished). 

G. H. VAST SANDEN : Qesch. der ApoL translated from Dutch into German 
by Quack and Binder. Stuttg. 1846. 2 vols. 

SEMISCH: Justin der Mart. Bresl. 1840. II. 56-225. 

W. B. COLTON: The Evidences of Christianity as exhibited in the writings 
of its Apologists down to Augustine (Hulsean Prize Essay, 1852), 
republ. in Boston, 1854. 

KAEL WERNER (E. C.) : Geschichte der apologetischen und polemischen 
Literatur der christl. Theologie. Schaffhausen, 1861-'65. 5 vols. 
(vol. I. belongs here). 

JAMES DONALDSON: A Critical History of Christian Literature and 
Doctrine from the Death of the Apostles to the Mcene Council. Lon- 
don, 1864-66. 3 vols. 

ADOLF HARNACK: Die Ueberlieferung der Oriechischen Apologeten des 
ssweiten Jahrhunderts in der alten J&rche und im Mittelalter. Band I. 
Heft 1 and 2. Leipz. 1882. 

These assaults of argument and calumny called forth in the 
second century the Christian apologetic literature, the vindica- 

1 ApoL c. 16 : "Somnwstis caput axininum esse deam nostnm. Ham CorndiM* 



tion of Christianity by the pen, against the Jewish zealot, the 
Grecian philosopher, and the Roman statesman. The Christians 
were indeed from the first " ready always to give an answer to 
every man that asked them a reason of the hope that was in 
them." But when heathenism took the field against them not 
only with fire and sword, but with argument and slander 
besides, they had to add to their simple practical testimony a 
theoretical self-defence.. The Christian apology against non- 
Christian opponents, and the controversial efforts against 
Christian errorists, are the two oldest branches of theological 

The apologetic literature began to appear under the reign 
of Hadrian, and continued to grow till the end of our period. 
Most of the church teachers took part in this labor of their day. 
The first apologies, by Quadratus, bishop of Athens, Aristides, 
philosopher of Athens, and Aristo of Pell a, which were ad- 
dressed to the emperor Hadriau, and the later works of Melito 
of Sardis, Claudius Apollinaris of Hierapolis, and Miltiades, who 
lived under Marcus Aurelius, were either entirely lost, or pre- 
served only in scattered notices of Eusebius. But some in- 
teresting fragments of Melito and Aristides have been recently 
discovered. 1 More valuable are the apologetical works of the 
Greek philosopher and martyr, Justin (d. 166), which we pos- 
sess in full. After him come, in the Greek church, Tatian, 
Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, and Hermias in the last 
half of the second century, and Origen, the ablest of all, in the 
first half of the third. 

The most important Latin apologists are Tertullian (d. about 
220), Minucius Felix (d. between 220 and 230 ; according to 
some, between 161 and 200), the later Arnobius and Lactantius, 
all of North Africa. 

Here at once appears the characteristic difference between the 

* See on the works of these Apologists, lost and partly recovered, Harnack, 
1. c. pp. 100 sqq. ; 240 sqq. ; and Kenan, L'egl chret. p. 40 sqq. We shall refei 
to them in the chapter on Christian literature. 

106 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Greek and the Latin minds. The Greek apologies are more 
learned and philosophical, the Latin more practical and juridical 
in their matter and style. The former labor to prove the truth 
of Christianity and its adaptedness to the intellectual wants of 
man ; the latter plead for its legal right to exist, and exhibit 
mainly its moral excellency and salutary effect upon society. 
The Latin also are in general more rigidly opposed to heathen- 
ism, while the Greek recognke in the Grecian philosophy a 
certain affinity to the Christian religion. 

The apologies were addressed in some cases to the emperors 
(Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius) or the provincial 
governors; in others, to the intelligent public. Their first 
object was to soften the temper of the authorities and people 
towards Christianity and its professors by refuting the false 
charges against them. It may be doubtful whether they ever 
reached the hands of the emperors; at all events the persecu- 
tion continued. 1 Conversion commonly proceeds from the heart 
and will, not from the understanding and from knowledge, 
Xo doubt, however, these writings contributed to dissipate 
prejudice among honest and susceptible heathens, to spread 
more favorable views of the new religion, and to infuse a spirit 
of humanity into the spirit of the age, the systems of moral 
philosophy and the legislation of the Antonines. 

Yet the chief service of this literature was to strengthen 
believers and to advance theological knowledge. It brought the 
church to a deeper and clearer sense of the peculiar nature of 
the Christian religion, and prepared her thenceforth to vindicate 
it before the tribunal of reason and philosophy; whilst Judaism 
and heathenism proved themselves powerless in the combat, 
and were driven to the weapons of falsehood and vituperation. 
.The sophisms and mockeries of a Celsus and a Lucian have 
none but a historical interest; the Apologies of Justin and the 
Apologeticus of Tertullian, rich with indestructible truth and 

^rosins, however, 'relates in his Hist. vii. 14, that Justin M., ty his 
Apology, maile the eoiperor Antoninus Pius " b&nignum erga Christiana*" 


glowing piety, are read with pleasure and edification to this 

The apologists do not confine themselves to the defensive, 
but carry the war aggressively into the territory of Judaism 
and heathenism. They complete their work by positively de- 
monstrating that Christianity is the divine religion, and the only 
true religion for all mankind. 

38, The Argument against Judaism. 

In regard to the controversy with Judaism, we have two 
principal sources : the Dialogue of Justin Martyr with the Jew 
Trypho, 1 based, it appears, on real interviews of Justin with 
Trypho; and Tertullian's work against the Jews. 2 Another 
work from the first half of the second century by Aristo of 
Pella, entitled "A Disputation of Jason and Papiscus con- 
cerning Christ," is lost. 3 It was known to Celsus who speaks 
contemptuously of it on account of its allegorical interpretation. 
Origen deems it useful for ordinary readers, though not calcu- 
lated to make much impression on scholars. It was intended 
to show the fulfillment of the old prophecies in Christ, and ends 
with the conviction of the Jew Papiscus aud his baptism by 
Jason. The author was a Jewish Christian of Pella, the city 
of refuge for the Christians of Jerusalem before the desti tiction. 

I. The DEFENSIVE apology answered the Jewish objections 
thus : 

(1) Against the charge, that Christianity is an apostasy from 
the Jewish religion, it was held, that the Mosaic law, as far as 
it relates to outward rites and ceremonies was only a temporary 
institution for the Jewish natiou foreshadowing the substance 
of Christianity, while its moral precepts as contained in the 
Decalogue were kept in their deepest spiritual sense only by 

1 AfAhopoc Trpbc Tpftywvo 'lovdalov. 

J Adv&rsus Judceoft. Also Cyprian's Testimonia adv. Judaos. 

s 'Idawvof KCU UaTTiaKM avrdoy'ta irepi Xptarov. Comp, the discussion of Har- 
nack, I c. pp. 115-130. He assigns the book to A. D. 135 or soon after. It 
disappeared in the seventh century. 

108 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Christians ; that the Old Testament itself points to its own 
dissolution and the establislinient of a new covenant; 1 that 
Abraham was justified before he was circumcised, and women, 
who could not be circumcised, were yet saved. 

(2) Against the asertion, that the servant-form of Jesus of 
Nazareth, and his death by the cross, contradicted the Old 
Testament idea of the Messiah, it was urged, that the appear- 
ance of the Messiah is to be regarded as twofold, first, in the 
form of a servant, afterwards in glory; and that the brazen 
serpent in the wilderness, and the prophecies of David in 
Psalm 22, of Isaiah in ch. 53, and Zech. 13, themselves point 
to the sufferings of Christ as his way to glory. 

(3) To the objection, that the divinity of Jesus contradicts 
the unify of God and is blasphemy, it was replied, that the 
Christians believe likewise in only one God; that the Old 
Testament itself makes a distinction in the divine nature ; that 
the plural expression: "Let us make man/' 2 the appearance 
of the three men at Mamre, 3 of whom one was confessedly 
God/ yet distinct from the Creator, 5 indicate this ; and that all 
theophanies (which in Justin's view are as many cliristophanies), 
and the Messianic Psalms, 6 which ascribe divine dignity to the 
Messiah, show the same. 

II. The AGGRESSIVE apology or polemic theology urges as 
evidence against Judaism : 

(1) First and mainly that the prophecies and types of the Old 
Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ and his church. Justin 
finds all the outlines of the gospel history predicted in the Old 
Testament : the Davidic descent of Jesus, for example, in Isa. 
11: 1; the birth from a virgin in 7: 14; the birth at 
Bethlehem in Micah 5 : 1 ; the flight into Egypt in Hosea 
11 : 1 (rather than Ps. 22 : 10 ?) ; the appearance of the Baptist 

l la. 51: 4 sqq.; 55: 3 sqq.; Jer. 31: 31 sqq. 
'Gen. 1: 26; comp. 3: 22. " s Gen. 18: 1 sqq. 

* 21 : 12. s 19 . 24. 

8 Ps. 110: 1 sqq.; 45: 7 sqq.; 72: 2-19, and others. 


in Is. 40 : 1-17 ; Mai. 4 : 5 ; the heavenly voice at the baptism 
of Jesus in Ps. 2 : 7 ; the temptation in the wilderness under 
the type of Jacob's wrestling in Gen. 32 : 24 sqq; ; the miracles 
of our Lord in Is. 35:5; his sufferings and the several cir- 
cumstances of his crucifixion in Is. 53 and Ps. 22. In this 
effort, however, Justin wanders also, according to the taste of 
his uncritical age, into arbitrary fancies and allegorical conceits ; 
as when he makes the two goats, of which one carried away the 
sins into the wilderness, and the other was sacrificed, typos of 
the first and second advents of Christ ; and sees in the twelve 
bells on the robe of the high priest a type of the twelve 
apostles, whose sound goes forth into all the world. 1 

(2) The destruction of Jerusalem, in which Judaism, accord- 
ing to the express prediction of Jesus, was condemned by God 
himself, and Christianity was gloriously vindicated. Here the 
Jewish priest and historian Josephus, who wrote from personal 
observation a graphic description of this tragedy, had to furnish 
a powerful historical argument against his own religion and for 
the truth of Christianity. Tertullian sums up the prophetic 
predictions of the calamities which have befallen the Jews for 
rejecting Christ, " the sense of the Scriptures harmonizing with 
the events." 2 

39. The Defense against Heathenism. 

I. The various OBJECTIONS and ACCUSATIONS of the heathens, 
which we have collected in 36, were founded for the most 
part on ignorance or hatred, and in many cases contradicted 

(1) The attack upon the miraculous in the evangelical history 
the apologists could meet by pointing to Hie similar element in 
the heathen mythology; of course proposing this merely in the 
way of argumentum ad hominem, to deprive the opposition of 
the, right to object. For the credibility of the miraculous 
accounts in the Gospels, particularly that of the resurrection of 

- Ps. 19 : 4 ; comp- Bom. 10 : 18. 2 Adv. Jud. c. 13. 

HO SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

Jesus, Origen appealed to the integrity and piety of the nar- 
rators, to the publicity of the death of Jesus, and to the effects 
of that event. 

(2) The novelty and late appearance of Christianity were 
justified by the need of historical preparation in which the 
human race should be divinely trained for Christ; but more 
frequently it was urged also, that Christianity existed in the 
counsel of God from eternity, and had its unconscious votaries, 
especially among the pious Jews, long before the advent of 
Christ. By claiming the Mosaic records, the apologists had 
greatly the advantage as regards antiquity over any form of 
paganism, and could carry their religion, in its preparatory state, 
even beyond the flood and up to the very gates of paradise. 
Justin and Tatian make great account of the fact that Moses is 
much older than the Greek philosophers, poets, and legislators. 
Athenagoras turns the tables, and shows that the very names 
of the heathen gods are modern, and their statues creations of 
yesterday. Clement of Alexandria calls the Greek philosophers 
thieves and robbers, because they stole certain portions of truth 
from the Hebrew prophets and adulterated them. Tcrtul- 
lian, Minucius Felix and others raise the same charge of pla- 

(3) The doctrine of the resurrection of the body, so peculiarly 
offensive to the heathen and Gnostic understanding, was sup- 
ported, as to its possibility, by reference to the omnipotence of 
God, and to the creation of the world and of man ; and its 
propriety and reasonableness were argued from the divine 
image in man, from the high destiny of the body to be the 
temple of the Holy Spirit, and from its intimate connection 
with the soul, as well as from the righteousness and goodness 
of God. The argument fropi analogy was also very generally 
used, but often without proper discrimination. Thus, Theophilus 
alludes to the decline and return of the seasons, the alternation? 
of day and night, the renewal of the waning and waxing moon, 
the growth of seeds and fruits. Tertullian expresses his sur- 
that anybody should deny the possibility and probability 


of the resurrection in view of the mystery of our birth and the 
daily occurrences of surrounding nature. "All things/ 7 he 
says, " are preserved by dissolution, renewed by perishing ; and 

shall man the lord of all this universe of creatures, 

which die and rise again, himself die only to perish for- 
ever?" 1 

(4) The charge of immoral conduct and secret vice the apolo- 
gists might repel with just indignation, since the New Testament 
contains the purest and noblest morality, and the general con- 
duct of the Christians compared most favorably with that of 
the heathens. "Shame! shame!" they justly cried; "to roll 
upon the innocent what you are openly guilty of, and what 
belongs to you and your gods I" Origen says in the preface to 
the first book against Celsus : " When false witness was brought 
against our blessed Saviour, the spotless Jesus, he held his 
peace, and when he was accused, returned no answer, being 
fully persuaded that the tenor of his life and conduct 
among the Jews was the best apology that could possibly be 

made in his behalf. And even now he preserves the 

same silence, and makes no other answer than the unblemished 
lives of his sincere followers ; they are his most cheerful and , 
successful advocates, and have so loud a voice that they drown/ 
the clamors of the most zealous and bigoted adversaries." 

II. To their defence the Christians, with the rising conscious- 
ness of victory, added direct ARGUMENTS AGAINST HEATHEN- 
ISM, which were practically sustained by its dissolution in the 
following period. 

(1) The popular religion of the heathens, particularly the 
doctrine of the gods, is unworthy, contradictory, absurd, im- 
moral, and pernicious. The apologists and most of the early 
church teachers looked upon the heathen gods not as mere 
imaginations or personified powers of nature or deifications of 

i Apohg. c. 43. Comp. his special tract De Resurrections Carnis, c. 12, where 
he defends the doctrine more fully against the Gnostics and their radical mis- 
conception of the nature and import of the body. 

112 SECONfi PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

distinguished men, but as demons or fallen angels. They took 
this view from the Septuagint version of Ps. 96 : 5, 1 and from 
the immorality of those deities, which was charged to demons 
(even sexual intercourse with fair daughters of men, according 
to Gen. 6 : 2). 

" What sad fates," says Minucius Felix, "what lies, ridiculous 
things, and weaknesses we read of the pretended gods ! Even 
their form, how pitiable it is ! Vulcan limps ; Mercury has 
wings to his feet ; Pan is hoofed ; Saturn in fetters ; and Janus 
has two faces, as if he walked backwards Some- 
times Hercules is a hostler, Apollo a coyr-herd, and Neptune, 
Laomedon's mason, cheated of his wages. There we have the 
thunder of Jove and the arms of Aeneas forged on the same 
anvil (as if the heavens and the thunder and lightning did not 
exist before Jove was born in Crete) ; the adultery of Mars and 
Venus ; the lewdness of Jupiter with Ganymede, all of which 
were invented for the gods to authorize men in their wicked- 
ness." "Which of the poets," asks Tertullian, "does not 
calumniate your gods ? One sets Apollo to keep sheep ; another 
hires out Neptune to build a wall ; Pindar declares JEsculapius 
was deservedly scathed for his avarice in exercising the art of 
medicine to a bad purpose ; whilst the writers of tragedy and 
comedy alike, take for their subjects the crimes or the miseries 
of the deities. Nor are the philosophers behindhand in this 
respect. Out of pure contempt, they would swear by an oak, a 
goat, a dog. Diogenes turned Hercules into ridicule ; and the 
Roman Cynic Varro introduces three hundred Joves without 
heads." From the stage abuser the sarcastic African father 
selects, partly from his own former observation, those of Diana 
being flogged, the reading of Jupiter's will after his decease, 
and the three half-starved Herculesses ! Justin brings up the 
infanticide of Saturn, the parricide, the anger, and the adultery 
of Jupiter, the drunkenness of Bacchus, the voluptuousness of 
Venus, and he appeals to the judgment of the better heathen^ 

3 HdvTtf ol $sol TOV s&v&v 6aip6vta. Comp. 1 Cor. 10 : 20. 


who were ashamed of these scandalous histories of the gods; to 
Plato, for example, who for this reason banishes Homer from 
his ideal State. Those myths, which , had some resemblance to 
the Old Testament prophecies or the gospel history, Justin, re- 
gards as caricatures of the truth, framed by demons by abuse 
of Scripture. The story of Bacchus, for instance, rests in his 
fanciful view, on Gen. 49 : 11 sq. ; the myth of the birth of 
Perseus from a virgin, on Is. 7:14; that of the wandering of 
Hercules, on Ps. 19 : 6; the fiction of the miracles of Esculapius 
on Is. 35 : 1 sqq. 

Origen asks Celsus, why it is that he can discover profound 
mysteries in those strange and senseless accidents, which have 
befallen his gods and goddesses, showing them to be polluted 
with crimes and doing many shameful things; whilst Moses, 
who says nothing derogatory to the character of God, angel, or 
man, is treated as an impostor. He challenges any one to com- 
pare Moses and his laws with the best Greek writers; and yet 
Moses was as far inferior to Christ, as he was superior to the 
greatest of heathen sages and legislators. 

(2) The Greek philosophy, which rises above the popular 
belief, is not suited to the masses, cannot meet $ie religious 
wants, and confutes itself by its manifold contradictions. 
Socrates, the wisest of all the philosophers, himself ac- 
knowledged that he knew nothing. On divine and human 
things Justin finds the philosophers at variance among them- 
selves } with Thales water is the ultimate principle of all things ; 
with Anaximander, air ; with Heraclitus, fire ; with Pythagoras, 
number. Even Plato not seldom contradicts himself; now 
supposing three fundamental causes (God, matter, and* ideas), 
now four (adding the world-soul) ; now he considers matter as 
unbegotten, now as begotten ; at one time he ascribes substan- 
tiality to ideas, atf another makes thefn mere forms of thought, 
etc. Who, then, he concludes, would intrust to the philosophers 
the salvation of his soul ? 

(3) But, on the other hand, the Greek apologists recognized 
also elements of truth in the Hellenic literature, especially in 

Vol. II. 8 

114 SECOND PERIOD. A?D. 100-311. 

the Platonic and Stoic philosophy, and saw in them, as in th 
law and the prophecies of Judaism, a preparation of the way 
for Christianity. Justin. attributes all the good in heathenism 
to the divine Logos, who, even before his incarnation, scattered 
the seeds of- truth (hence the name " Logos spermaticos"), and 
incited susceptible spirits to a holy walk. Thus there were 
Christians before Christianity; and among these he expressly 
reckons Socrates and Heraclitus. 1 Besides, he supposed that 
Pythagoras, Hato, and other educated Greeks, in their journeys 
to the East, became acquainted with the Old Testament writ- 
ings, and drew from them the doctrine of the unity of God, 
and other like truths, though they in various ways misunder- 
stood them, and adulterated them with pagan errors. This 
view of a certain affinity between the Grecian philosophy and 
Christianity, as an argument in favor of the new religion, 
was afterwards further developed by the Alexandrian fathers, 
Clement and Origen. 2 

The Latin fathers speak less favorably of the Greek philo- 
sophy; yet even Augustin acknowledges that the Platonists 
approach so nearly to Christian truth that with a change of 
some expressions and sentences they would be true Christians 
(in theory). 3 

40. The Positive Apology. 

The Christian apology completed itself in the positive de- 
monstration of the divinity of the new religion ; which was 'at 

the same time the best refutation of both the old ones. As 


1 Also the Stoics and some of the poets as far as their moral teaching went, 
comp. Just. Apol. II. c. 8, and 13. 

* See the introduction of E. Spiess to his Logos spermatikos, Leipz. 1871. 

*De Vera Religwne IV. 7: "Proxime Pfatonici a writate Christiana absmt 
vd veri Christiani sunt panels mutatis verbis atque sententifa" Retract. I. 13 : 
"Res ipsa quae nunc rdigio Christiana nuncupaturj erat apud antiquoe, net defuti 
ab initio generis humani, quousque Christus veniret in carnem, unde vera rdigio, 
qua&jam erat, coepit appellari Christiana.'' Comp, Lactantius, De Faha Edigime, 
I. 5 ; De Vita Beata, VII. 7 ; Minucius Fel., Oetav. 20. 


early as this period the strongest historical and philosophical 
arguments for Christianity were brought forward, or at least 
indicated, though in connection 1 with many untenable adjuncts. 

1. The great argument, not only with Jews, but with 
heathens also, was the PEOPHECIES ; since the knowledge of 
future events can come only from God. The first appeal of 
the apologists was, of course, to the prophetic writings of the 
Old Testament, in which they found, by a very liberal interpre- 
tation, every event of the gospel history and every lineament of 
our Saviour's character and work. In addition to the Scriptures, 
even such fathers as Clement of Alexandria, and, with more 
caution, Origen, Eusebius, St. Jerome, and St. Augustin, em- 
ployed also, without hesitation, apocryphal prophecies, especially 
the Sibylline oracles, a medley of ancient heathen, Jewish, and 
in part Christian fictions, about a golden age, the coming of 
Christ, the fortunes of Home, and the end of the world. 1 And 
indeed, this was not all error and pious fraud. Through all 
heathenism there runs, in truth, a dim, unconscious presenti- 
ment and longing hope of Christianity. Think of the fourth 
Eclogue of Virgil, with its predictions of the " virgo " and 
"nova progenies" from heaven, and the "putr" with whom, 
after the blotting out of sin and the killing of the serpent, a 
golden age of peace was to begin. For this reason Virgil was 
the favorite poet of the Latin church during the middle ages, 
and figures prominently in Dante's Divina Comedia as his guide 
through the dreary regions of the Inferno and Purgatorio to the 
very gates of Paradise. Another pseudo-prophetic book used 

1 Comp. DB. FRIEDUEB : Die SibyUinischen Weissagungen wllsttimdig gesam- 
mdt> mit kriti&chem, Commentare und metrischer Ueb&rseteung. Leipz. 1852. 
Another edition with a Latin version by C. AIEXANDRE, Paris 1841, second 
ed. 1869, 2 torn. We have at present twelve books of XMWi cfivMtaKoi in 
Greek hexameters, and w>me fragments. They have been critically discussed 
by Blondel (1649), .Bleek (1819), Volkmann (1853), Ewald (1858), Liiben 
U875), Renss, and Schurer (see lit. in his N. T. Ztitgesch. p. 513). The Sibyl 
figures in the Dies Irae alongside with King David (teste David cum Sibylla), as 
prophesying the day of judgment. 

116 SECOND PEB10D. A.D. 100-311. 

by the fathers (Tertulliao, Origen,. and apparently Jerome) is 
"The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs," written by a 
Jewish Christian between A. D. ItX) and 120. It puts into the 
mouth of the twelve sons of Jacob farewell addresses and pre- 
dictions of the coming of Christ, his death and resurrection, 
of baptism and the Lord's Supper, the rejection of the gospel 
by the Jews, and the preaching of Paul, the great apostle of the 
Gentiles, the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the 
world. 1 

2. The TYPES. These, too, were found not only in the Old 
Testament, but in the whole range of nature. Justin saw 
everywhere, in the tree of life in Eden, in Jacob's ladder, in 
the rods of Moses and Aaron, nay, in every sailing ship, in the 
wave-cutting oar, in the plough, in the human countenance, 
in the human form with outstretched arms, in banners and 
trophies the sacred form of the cross, and thus a prefiguration 
of the mystery of redemption through the crucifixion of the 
Lord. 2 

3. The MIRACLES of Jesus and the apostles, with those which 
continued to be wronght in the*name of Jesus, according to the 
express testimony of the fathers, by their contemporaries. But 
as the heathens also appealed to miraculous deeds and appear- 
ances in favor of their religion, Justin, Arnobius, and par- 
ticularly Origen, fixed certain criteria, such as the moral purity 
of the worker, and his intention to glorify God and benefit 
man, for distinguishing the true miracles from Satanic juggleries. 
" There might have been some ground," says Origen, " for the 
comparison which Celsus makes between Jesus and certain 

1 Best edition by ROBERT SINKER from the Cambridge MS., Cambridge, 
1869, and an Appendix, 1879 ; an English translation by Sinker, in the "Ante- 
Kicene Library," vol. XXII. (Edinb. 1871). Discussions by Nitzsch (1810), 
Ritschl (1850 and 1857), Vorstmann (1857), Kayser (1851), Liicke (1852), 
Dillmann (in Herzog, first ed. XII. 315), Lightfoot (1875), and Warfield (in 
"Presbyt. Beview," 1ST. York, January, 1880, on the apologetical value of the 
work for its allusions to various books of the N. T.). 

3 Apol I. c. 55; Did. c. Tryph. c. 91. 


wandering magicians, if there had appeared in the latter the 
slightest tendency to beget in persons a true fear of God, and so 
to regulate their actions in prospect of the day of judgment. 
But they attempt nothing of the sort. Yea, they themselves 
are guilty of the most grievous crimes; whereas the Saviour 
would have his hearers to be convinced by the native beauty 
of religion and the holy lives of its teachers, rather than by 
even the miracles they wrought." 

The subject of j>o^-apostolic miracles is surrounded by much 
greater difficulties in the absence of inspired testimony, and in 
most cases even of ordinary immediate witnesses. There is an 
antecedent probability that the power of working miracles was 
not suddenly and abruptly, but gradually withdrawn, as the 
necessity of such outward and extraordinary attestation of the 
divine origin of Christianity diminished and gave way to the 
natural operation of truth and moral suasion. Hence St. 
Augustin, in the fourth century, says : " Since the establishment 
of the church God does not wish to perpetuate miracles even to 
our day, lest the mind should put its trust in visible signs, or 
grow cold at the sight of common marvels." * But it is im- 
possible to fix the precise termination, either at the death of the 
apostles, or their immediate disciples, or the conversion of the 
Koman empire, or the extinction of the Arian heresy, or any 
subsequent era, and to sift carefully in each particular case the 
truth from legendary fiction. 

It is remarkable that the genuine writings of the ante- 
Nicene church are more free from miraculous and superstitious 
elements than the aima.!** of the Nicene age and the middle 

* On the other hand, however, St. Augustin lent the authority of his name 
to some of the most incredible miracles of his age, wrought hy the bones of 
St. Stephen, and even of Gervasius and Protasius. Comp. the treatise of Fr- 
Nitzsch (jun.) on Augustin's Doctrine of Miracles, Berlin 1865 ; and on the 
general subject J. H. Newman's Two Essays on Biblical and Ecdesiastical 
Miracles, third ed. London 1873 ; and J. B. Mozley's Bampton Lectures On 
Miracles. Oxford and Lond. (1865 J, fifth ed. 1880, Lect. VIIL which treats 
of false miracles. 

118 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311, 

ages. The history of monasticism teems with miracles even 
greater than those of the New Testament. Most of the state- 
ments of the apologists are couched in general terms, and refei 
to extraordinary cures from demoniacal possession (which pro- 
bably includes, in the language of that age, cases of madness, 
deep melancholy, and epilepsy) and other diseases, by the in- 
vocation of the name of Jesus. 1 Justin Martyr speaks of such 
cures as a frequent occurrence in Eome and all over the world, 
and Origen appeals to his own personal observation, but speaks 
in another place of the growing scarcity of miracles, so as to 
suggest the gradual cessation theory as held by Dr. Neander, 
Bishop Kaye, and others. Tertullian attributes many if not 
most of the conversions of his day to supernatural dreams and 
visions, as does also Origen, although with more caution. But 
in such psychological phenomena it is exceedingly difficult to 
draw the line of demarcation between natural and supernatural 
causes, and between providential interpositions and miracles 
proper. The strongest passage on this subject is found in 
Irenaeus, who, in contending against the heretics, mentions, 
besides prophecies and miraculous cures of demoniacs, even the 
raising of the dead among contemporary events taking place in 
the Catholic church; 2 but he specifies no particular case or 
name; and it should be remembered also, that his youth still 
bordered almost on the Johannean age. 

4. The MORAL effect of Christianity upon the heart and life 
of its professors. The Christian religion has not only taught 
the purest and sublimest code of morals ever known among 
men, but actually exhibited it in the life, sufferings, and* death 
of its founder and true followers. All the apologists, from the 
author of the Epistle to Diognetus down to Origen, Cyprian, 
and Augustin, bring out in strong colors the infinite superiority 

-tfceyare analogous to the " faith-cures," real or pretended, of our own age. . 
* Adv. Haer. II. 31, g 2, and II. 32, 4: T E<ty ft K al veicpol wtpfyffav /col 
iraptftetvov otv faiv Imvois heat. These two passages can hardly be explained, 
with Henmann and Meander, as referring merely to cases of apparent death. 


of Christian ethics over the heathen, and their testimony is fully 
corroborated by the practical fruits of the church, as \ve shall 
have -occasion more fully to show in another chapter. " They 
think us senseless," says Justin, "because we worship this 
Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as God next to 
the Father. But they would not say so, if thfey knew the mys- 
tery of the cross. By its fruits they may know it. We, who 
once lived in debauchery, now study chastity ; we, who dealt in 
sorceries, have consecrated ourselves to the good, the increate 
God ; we, who loved money and possessions above all things 
else, now devote our property freely to the general good, and 
give to every needy one ; we, who fought and killed each other, 
now pray for our enemies ; those who persecute us in hatred, 
we kindly try to appease, in the hope that they may share the 
same blessings which we enjoy." l 

5. The rapid SPBEAD of Christianity by purely moral means, 
and in spite of the greatest external obstacles, yea, the bitter 
persecution of Jews and Gentiles. The anonymous apologetic 
Epistle to Diognetus which belongs to the literature of the 
Apostolic Fathers, alreadythus urges this point : " Do you not 
see the Christians exposed to wild beasts, that they may be per- 
suaded to deny the Lord, and yet not overcome ? Do you not 
see that the more of them are punished, the greater becomes the 
number of the rest ? This does not seem to be the work of 
man : this is the power of God ; these are the evidences of his 
manifestation." 2 Justin Martyr and Tertullian frequently go 
on in a similar strain. Origen makes good use of this argu- 
ment against Celsus, and thinks that so great a success as 
Christianity met among Greeks and barbarians, learned and 
unlearned persons in so short a time, without any force or 
other worldly means, and in view of the united opposition of 
emperors, senate, governors, generals, priests, and people, can 
only be rationally accounted for on the ground of an ex- 

i Apol I. c. 13 and 14. * Ad Dfogn. c. 7. 

120 SECOND PEKIOD. A.B. 100-311. 

traordinary providence 'of God arid the divine nature of 

6. The REASONABLENESS of Christianity, and its agreement 
with all the true and the beautiful in the Greek philosophy and 
poesy. All who had lived rationally before Christ were really, 
though unconsciously, already Christians. Thus all that is 
Christian is rational, and all that is truly rational is Christian. 
Yet, on the other hand, of course, Christianity is supra-rational 
(not irrational). 

7. The ADAPTATION of Christianity to the deepest needs of 
human nature, which it alone can meet. Here belongs 
Tertullian's appeal to the "testimonia animae naturalit&r 
Christianae;" his profound thought, that the human soul is, 
in its inmost essence and instinct, predestined for Christianity, 
and can find rest and peace in that alone. "The soul," says he, 
" though confined in the prison of the body, though perverted 
by bad training, .though weakened by lusts and passions, though 
given to the service of false gods, still no sooner awakes from 
its intoxication and its dreams, and recovers its health, than it 
calls upon God by the one name due to him: f Great God! 
good God!' and then looks, not to the capitol, but to 
heaven ; for it knows the abode of the living God, from whom 
it proceeds." 1 

This deep longing of the human soul for the living God in 
Christ, Augustin, in whom Tertullian's spirit returned purified 
and enriched, afterwards expressed in the grand sentence: 
"Thou, O God, hast made us for thee, and our heart is restless, 
till it rests in thee." 2 

1 Tert>Apolog. c. 17. Comp. the beautiful passage in De Testim Animce, c. 2: 
"Si enim anima, aut divina aut a Deo data est, sine drubio dator&m &ium novit, et si 
wwit, utique et timet . . . . testimonium v&ritatis, qua apud ipsa dcwnonia testem 

J Aug. Confess. I. 1 : Fecisti nos ad Te t et inguietum est cor nostrum, donee re 



L The chief sources for this chapter are the Epistles of IGNATIUS, the 
works of IEENJEUS, TERTULLIAN, and especially CYPEIA^, and the 

II. See the Literature in vol. L ? 58 (p. 481 sqq.), particularly the works 


41. Progress in Consolidation. 

IN the external organization of the church, several important 
changes appear in the period before us. The distinction of 
clergy and laity, and the sacerdotal view of the ministry be- 
comes prominent and fixed; subordinate church offices are 
multiplied ; the episcopate arises ; the beginnings of the Eoman 
primacy appear ; and the exclusive unity of the Catholic church 
develops itself in opposition to heretics and schismatics. The 
apostolical organization of the first century now gives place to 
the old Catholic episcopal system ; and this, in its turn, passes 
into the metropolitan, and after the fourth century into the 
patriarchal. Here the Greek church stopped, and is governed 
to this day by a hierarchical oligarchy of patriarchs equal in 
rank and jurisdiction; while the Latin church went a step 
further, and produced in the middle ages the papal monarchy. 
The germs of this papacy likewise betray themselves even in 
our present period, particularly in Cyprian, together with a 
protest against it. Cyprian himself is as much a witness for 
consolidated primacy, as for independent episcopacy, and hence 
often used and abused alike by Romanists and Anglicans for 
sectarian purposes. 

The characteristics, however, of the pre-Constantinian hier- 

122 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

archy, in distinction from the post-Constantinian, both Greel 
and Roman, are, first, its grand simplicity, and secondly, it 
spirituality, or freedom from all connection with political powei 
and worldly splendor. Whatever influence the church acquired 
and exercised, she owed nothing to the secular government, 
which continued indifferent or positively hostile till the protec- 
tive toleration edict of Constantine (313). Tertullian thought 
it impossible for an emperor to be a Christian, or a Christian to 
be an emperor ; and even after Constantine, the Donatists per- 
sisted in this view, and cast up to the Catholics the memory of 
the former age : " What have Christians to do with kings ? or 
what have bishops to do in the palace?" 1 The ante-Nicene 
fathers expected the ultimate triumph of Christianity over the 
world from a supernatural interposition at the second Advent 
Origen seems to have been the only one in that age of violent 
persecution who expected that Christianity, by continual growth, 
would gain the dominion over the world. 2 

The consolidation of the church and its compact organization 
implied a restriction of individual liberty, in the interest of 
order, and a temptation to the abuse of authority. But it was 
demanded by the diminution of spiritual gifts, which were 
poured out in such extraordinary abundance in the apostolic 
age. It made the church a powerful republic within the 
Roman empire, and contributed much to its ultimate success. 
" In union is strength," especially in times of danger and per- 
secution such as the church had to pass through in the ante- 
Nicene age. While we must deny a divine right and perpetual 
obligation to any peculiar form of government as far as it 
departs from the simple principles of the New Testament, we 
may concede a historical necessity and great relative importance 
to the ante-Nicene and subsequent organizations of the church. 
Even the papacy was by no means an unmixed evil, but a 
training school for the barbarian nations during the middle ages. 

1 " Quid Christianis cum regibus f aut quid episcopis cum palcdio f " 

1 Oonfra Cds. VIII. 68. Comp. the remarks of Neander, I. 129 (Boston ed.) 

\ 42. CLEEGY AND LAITY. 123 

Those who condemn, in principle, all hierarchy, sacerdotalism, 
and ceremonialism, should remember that God himself appointed 
the priesthood and ceremonies in the Mosaic dispensation, and 
that Christ submitted to the requirements of the law in the days 
of his humiliation. 

42. Clergy and Laity. 

The idea and institution of a special priesthood, distinct from 
the body of the people, with the accompanying notion of sacri- 
fice and altar, passed imperceptibly from Jewish and heathen 
reminiscences and analogies into the Christian church. The 
majority of Jewish converts adhered tenaciously to the Mosaic 
institutions and rites, and a considerable part never fully 
attained to the height of spiritual freedom proclaimed by Paul, 
or soon fell away from it. He opposed legalistic and cere- 
monial tendencies in Galatia and Corinth ; and although sacer- 
dotalism does not appear among the errors of his Judaieing 
opponents, the Levitical priesthood, with its three ranks of 
high-priest, priest, and Levite, naturally furnished an analogy 
for the threefold ministry of bishop, priest, and deacon, and 
came to be regarded as typical of it. Still less could the 
Gentile Christians, as a body, at once emancipate themselves 
from their traditional notions of priesthood, altar, and sacrifice, 
on which their former religion was based. Whether we regard 
the change as an apostasy from a higher position attained, or as 
a reaction of old ideas never fully abandoned, the change is 
undeniable, and can be traced to the second century. The 
church could not long occupy the ideal height of the apostolic 
age, and as the pentecostal illumination passed away with the 
death of the apostles, the old reminiscences began to reassert 
themselves. 1 

i Kenan, looking at the gradual development of" the hierarchy out of the 
primitive democracy, from his secular point of view, calls it "the most pro- 
found transformation " in history, and a triple abdication : first the dub' (the 
congregation) committing its power to the bureau or the committee (the college 
of presbyters), then the bureau to its president (the bishop) who could say: 

124 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

In the apostolic church preaching and teaching were not con- 
fined to a particular class, but every convert could proclaim the 
gospel to unbelievers, and every Christian who had the gift 
could pray and teach and exhort in the congregation. 1 The 
New Testament knows no spiritual aristocracy or nobility, but 
calls all believers "saints," though many fell far short of their 
vocation. Nor does it recognize a special priesthood in distinc- 
tion from the people, as mediating between God and the laity. 
It knows only one high-priest, Jesus Christ, and clearly teaches 
the universal priesthood, as well as universal kingship, of be- 
lievers. 2 It does this in a far deeper and larger sense than the 
Old; 3 in a sense, too, which even to this day is not yet fully 
realized. The entire body of Christians are called " clergy " 
(x)ypot), a peculiar people, the heritage of God. 4 

On the other hand it is equally clear that there was in the 
apostolic church a ministerial office, instituted by Christ, for the 
very purpose of raising the mass of believers from infancy and 
pupilage to independent and immediate intercourse with God, 

"Jesuiskdiib" and finally the presidents to the pope as the universal and 
infallible biahop ; the last process being completed in the Vatican Council ot 
1870. See his L'figlise chretienne, p. 88, and his English Conferences (Hibbcrt 
Lectures, 1880), p. 90. 

iComp. Acts 8: 4; 9: 27; 13: 15; 18: 26, 28; Eom. 12: 6; 1 Cor. 12: 
10, 28; 14: 1-6, 31. Even in the Jewish Synagogue the liberty of teaching 
was enjoyed, and the elder could ask any member of repute, even a stranger, 
to deliver a discourse on the Scripture lesson (Luke 4 : 17 ; Acts 17 : 2). 

2 1 Pet. 2: 5, 9; 5: 3; Eev. 1: 6; 5: 10; 20: 6. See Neander, Lightfoot, 
Stanley, etc., and vol. L 486 sqq. I add a passage from Hatch's Barnpton 
Lectures on The Organmtim of the Early Christian Churches (1881), p. 139 : 
"In earlier times there was a grander faith. For the kingdom of God was a 
kingdom of priests. Not only the 'four and twenty elders' before the throne, 
but the innumerable souls of the sanctified upon whom ' the second death had 
no power/ were ' kings and priests unto God.' Only in that high sense wa* 
priesthood predicable of Christian men. For the shadow had passed : the 
reality had come : the one High Priest of Christianity was Christ." 


4 1 Pet. 5 : 3. Here Peter warns his fellow-presbyters not to lord it 
(Kuptdetv) over the d.ypOL or the K^povo^ i. e., the lot or inheritance of the 
Lord, the chaige allotted to them. Comp. Deut. 4: 20; 9: 29 (LXX). 


to that prophetic, priestly, and kingly position, which in prin- 
ciple and destination belongs to them all. 1 This work is the 
gradual process of church history itself, and will not be fully 
accomplished till the kingdom of glory shall come. But these 
ministers are nowhere represented as priests in any other sense 
than Christians generally are priests with the privilege of a 
direct access to the throne of grace in the name of their one 
and eternal high-priest in heaven. Even in the Pastoral Epis- 
tles which present the most advanced stage of ecclesiastical or- 
ganization in the apostolic period, while the teaching, ruling, and 
pastoral functions of the presbyter-bishops are fully discussed, 
nothing is said about a sacerdotal function. The Apocalypse, 
which was written still later, emphatically teaches the universal 
priesthood and kingship of believers. The apostles themselves 
never claim or exercise a special priesthood. The sacrifice 
which all Christians are exhorted to offer is the sacrifice of 
their person and property to the Lord, and the spiritual sac- 
rifice of thanksgiving and praise. 2 In one passage a Christian 
" altar " is spoken of, in distinction from the Jewish altar^ of 
literal and daily sacrifices, but this altar is the cross on which 
Christ offered himself once and forever for the sins of the 
world. 3 

After the gradual abatement of the extraordinary spiritual 
elevation of the apostolic age, which anticipated in its way the 
ideal condition of the church, the distinction of a regular class 
of teachers from the laity became more fixed and prominent. 
This appears first in Ignatius, who, in his high episcopalian 
spirit, considers the clergy the necessary medium of access for 
the people to God. "Whoever is within the sanctuary (or altar)^ 
is pure ; but he who is outside of the sanctuary is not pure ; that 

iComp. Eph.4: 11-13. 

2Kom. 12: 1; Phil. 2: 17; lPet.2: 5^ Heb. 13: 16. 

3 Heb. 13 : 10. So dvaiaffrfoiov is understood by Thomas Aquinas, Bengel, 
Bleek, Liinemann, Biehm, etc. Others explain it of the Lord's table, Light- 
foot (p. 263) of the congregation assembled for common worship. 

126 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

is, he who does anything without bishop and presbytery and 
deacon, is not pure in conscience." * Yet he nowhere represents 
the ministry as a sacerdotal office. The Didache calls " the 
prophets" high-priests, but probably in a spiritual sense. 2 
Clement of Rome, in writing to the congregation at Corinth, 
draws a significant and fruitful parallel between the Christian 
presiding office and the Levitical priesthood, and uses the ex- 
pression "layman" (tooc fc&pa>itoc) as antithetic to high- 
priest, priests, and Levites. 3 This parallel contains the germ 
of the whole system of sacerdotalism. But it is at best only 
an argument by analogy. Tertullian was the first who expressly 
and directly asserts sacerdotal claims on behalf of the Christian 
ministry, and calls it " sacerdotium" although he also strongly 
affirms the universal priesthood of all believers. Cyprian (d. 
258) goes still further, and applies all the privileges, duties, and 
responsibilities of the Aaronic priesthood to the officers of the 
Christian church, and constantly calls them sacerdotes and sacer- 
dotium. He may therefore be called the proper father of the 
sacerdotal conception of the Christian ministry as a mediating 
agency between God and the people. During the third century 
it became customary to apply the term "priest" directly and 

1 Ad Tratl. c. 7 : 6 EVT&C &vffiacm?ptov &v Katiaptf kanv 6 6 e/crdf ftvaiaarq- 
oiov &v ov Ka&apo kanv rovrecmVj & #wp2f &iruTK6irav Kal irpeapvTepiov teal dtatcdvov 
irpaaeuv TI, ovrog ov Kafiapd? eariv Ty GweL6rjcei. Funk's ed. I. 208. Some 
MSS. omit the second clause, perhaps from homo3oteleuton. Von Gebhardt 
and Harnack also omit it in the Greek text, but retain it in the Latin (qui 
extra altare est, non mundus est). The rovrttrriv evidently requires the clause. 

2 Cf. ch. 13* See note in SchaiPs edition, p. 206. 

8 Ad Cor. 40 : ' Unto the high-priest his proper services have been in- 
trusted, and to the priests their proper office is appointed, and upon the levites 
their proper ministratioa 1 ? are laid. The layman is bound by the layman's 
Drdinances (o /lakof ai>#p<J7rof rdiq ^akoZf irpoGT&yfjLaGiv Mderai)" The passage 
occurs in the text of Bryennios as- well as in the older editions, and there is 
no good reason to suspect it of being an interpolation in the hierarchical in- 
terest, as Neander and MiJman kave done. Bishop Lightfoot, in his /Sfc. 
Clement of Rome, p. 128 sq., puts a mild construction upon it, and says that 
the analogy does not extend to the three orders, because Clement only knows 
two (bishops and deacons^ and that the high priesthood of Christ is wholly 
different in kind from the Mosaic high priesthood, and exempt from those very 
limitations on which Clement dwells in that chapter, 


exclusively to the Christian ministers, especially the bishops. 1 
In the same manner the whole ministry, and it alone, was called 
" clergy/' with a double reference to its presidency and its pe- 
culiar relation to God. 2 It was distinguished by this name from 
the Christian people or "laiiy." 3 Thus the term "clergy," 
which first signified the lot by which office was assigned (Acts 
1 : 17, 25), then the office itself, then the persons holding that 
office, was transferred from the Christians generally to the minis- 
ters exclusively. 

Solemn " ordination " or consecration by the laying on of 
hands was the form of admission into the " ordo eeclesiasticus " 
or " sacerdotalis." In this order itself there were again three 
degrees, " ordines majores/' as they were called : the diaconate, 
the presbyterate, and the episcopate-^-held to be of divine insti- 
tution. Under these were the " ordines rninores," of later date, 
from sub-deacon to ostiary, which formed the stepping-stone 
between the clergy proper and the people. 4 

surrvmus sacerdos (Tertullian, De 7), and once ponlifex ' 
mas-imus (De Pudic. 1, with ironical reference, it seems, to the Roman "bishop) ; 
ordo sacerdotalis (De Exhort. Cast. 7) ; itpsv^ and sometimes Ap^tepevg- (Apost. 
Const. II. 34, 35, 36, 57; III. 9; vi. 15, 18, etc.). Hippolytus calls his office 
an apxtepareia and (hdaaicaMa (Ref. Hder- I. prooem.). Cyprian generally ap- 
plies the term sacerdos to the bishop, and calls his colleagues eonsacerdotdes 

2 K7^pof, clerus, raf/f, ordo, ordo sacerdotcdis (Tertull., De Exhort. Cast. 7), 
ordo ecdesiastmis or ecdesiae (De Monog. 11 ; De Idolol. 7) ; KtyptKoi, derid. 
The first instance perhaps of the use of derus in the sense of clergy is in Ter- 
tullian, De Monog. c. 12: " Undeenim episcopi et derus f" and: " Extollimur 
et inflamur adversus derum " Jerome (Ad Nepotian.) explains this exclusive 
application of derus to ministers, " vel quia de sorte Bunt Domini, vd quia ipse 
Dominus sors, id est, pars dericorwn est" The distinction between the regular 
clergy, who were also monks, and the secular clergy or parish priests, is of 
much later date (seventh or eighth century). 

3 Aa<fc, falKol, plebs. In Tertullian, Cyprian, and in the Apostolic Constitu- 
tions the terra "layman" occurs very often. Cyprian speaks (250) of a "con- 
ference held with bishop?, presbyters, deacons, confessors, and also with laymen 
who stood firm" (in persecution), Ep. 30, ad Bom. 

* Occasionally, however, we find a somewhat wider terminology. Tertullian 
mentions, De Monog. c. 12, the ordo whwarum among the ordines ecdesiastici, 
and even the rauch later Jerome (see In Jcsaiam, 1. v. c. 19, 18), enumerates 
yuinque ecdesiae ordines, epmopos, presbyfcrns, diaconos, fdd, ratechumenos. 

SECOND PERIOD. A/D. 100-311. 

Thus we find, so early as the third century, the foundations 
of a complete hierarchy; though a hierarchy of only moral 
power, and holding no sort of outward control over the con- 
science. The body of the laity consisted of two classes : the 
faithful, or the baptized and communicating members, and the 
catechumens, who were preparing for baptism. Those church 
members who lived together in one place, 1 formed a church 
in the narrower senge. 2 

"With the exaltation of the clergy appeared the tendency to 
separate them from secular business, and even from social rela- 
tions from marriage, 'for example and to represent them, even 
outwardly, as a caste independent of the people, and devoted 
exclusively to the service of the sanctuary. They drew their 
support from the church treasury, which was supplied by volun- 
tary contributions and weekly collections on the Lord's Day. 
After the third century they were forbidden to engage in any 
secular business, or even to accept any trusteeship. Celibacy was 
not yet in this period enforced, but left optional. Tertullian, 
Gregory of Nyssa, and other distinguished church teachers, lived 
in wedlock, though theoretically preferring the unmarried state. 
Of an official clerical costume no certain trace appears before 
the fourth century ; and if it came earlier into use, as may have 
been the case, after the example of the Jewish church, it must 
have been confined, during the times of persecution, to the actual 
exercises of worship. 

"With the growth of this distinction of clergy and laity, how- 
ever, the idea of the universal priesthood continued from time 
to time to assert itself: in Irenseus, 3 for example, and in an 
eccentric form in the Montanists, who even allowed women to 
teach publicly in the church. So Tertullian, with whom derus 
and laid were at one time familiar expressions, inquires, as the 
champion of the Montanistic reaction against the Catholic 
hierarchy : " Are not we laymen priests also ? " 4 It is written, 

i H dpoiKoi, TapmtoifiQt, Eph. 2 : 19 ; 1 Pet. 2:11. or parish, vapouda. 
' Adv. Hatr. iv. 8, \ 3. * Nome et laid sacerdotes wmus 9 

i 42. CLERGY AND LAITY. 129 

he continues : " He hath made us kings and priests (Eev. 1 : 6). 
It is the authority of the church alone which has made a dis- 
tinction between clergy and laity. "Where there is no college of 
ministers, you administer the sacrament, you baptize, you are a 
priest for yourself alone. And where there are three of you, 
there is a church, though you be only laymen. For each one 
lives by his own faith, and there is no respect of persons with 
God." l All, therefore, which the clergy considered peculiar to 
them, he claimed for the laity as the common sacerdotal privilege 
of all Christians. 

Even in the Catholic church an acknowledgment of the 
general priesthood showed itself in the custom of requiring the 
baptized to say the Lord's Prayer before the assembled congre- 
gation. With reference to this, Jerome says: "Sacerdotium 
laid, id est } baptisma" The congregation also, at least in the 
West, retained for a long time the right of approval and rejec- 
tion in the choice of its ministers, even of the bishop. Clement 
of Rome expressly requires the assent of the whole congregation 
for a valid election ; 2 and Cyprian terms this an apostolic and 
almost universal regulation. 3 According to his testimony it ob- 
tained also in Eome, and was observed in the case of his con- 
temporary, Cornelius. 4 Sometimes in the filling of a vacant 
bishopric the "suffragium" of the people preceded the "judi- 
cium " of the clergy of .the diocese. Cyprian, and afterwards 
Athanasius, Ambrose, Augustin, and other eminent prelates, 
were in a manner pressed into the bishopric in this democratic 
way. Cyprian, with all his high-church proclivities, declares it 
his principle to do nothing as bishop without the advice of the 
presbyters and deacons, and the consent of the people. 5 A pe- 

1 De Exhort. Cast, c; 7. Comp. also De Monog. 7, 12; De Bapt. 17; D* 

Orat. 18. 

2 Ad Cor. 44 : ^wsvfioK&oqe rfc sKKhjfflas naaiis, consentiente umversa ecdewL 

8 Up. Ix. 3-4 (ed. Goldhorn). 

* Ep. Iv. 7 : " Fadus est Cornelius episcopus de Dei et Christi ejv& judicio, d* 
dericorum pome omnium testimonio, de plebis qua turn adfuti suffrage, et de wcer 

Vol. IL 9. 

130 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

culiar influence, which even the clergy could not withstand, 
attached to the "confessors," and it was sometimes abused by 
them, as in their advocacy of the lapsed, who denied Christ in 
the Decian persecution. 

Finally, we notice cases where the function of teaching was 
actually exercised by laymen. The bishops of Jerusalem and 
Csesarea allowed the learned Origen to expound the Bible to 
their congregations before his ordination, and appealed to the 
example of several bishops in the East. 1 Even in the Apos- 
tolical Constitutions there occurs, under the name of the Apostle 
Paul, the direction : " Though a man be a layman,'rf experienced 
in the delivery of instruction, and reverent in habit, he may 
teach; for the Scripture says; 'They shall be all taught of 
God/" 2 The fourth general council at Carthage (398) pro- 
hibited laymen from teaching in the presence of clergymen and 
without their consent; implying at the same time, that with such 
permission the thing might be done. 3 

It is worthy of notice that a number of the most eminent 
church teachers of this period, Hermas, Justin Martyr, Athena- 
goras, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, Arnobius, 

1 Euseb., H.R VI. 19: "There [in Oesarea] he [Origen] was also requested 
by the bishops to expound the sacred Scriptures publicly in the church, al- 
though he had not yet obtained the priesthood by the imposition of hands." 
It is true this was made the ground of a charge against him by Demetrius, 
bishop of Alexandria; but the charge was that Origen had preached "in the 
presence of bishops," not that he had preached as a layman. And the bishops 
of Jerusalem and Csesarea adduced several examples of holy bishops inviting 
capable laymen to preach to the people. Prudentius and Aedesius, while lay- 
men, founded the church in Abyssinia, Socrates, Hist. Ecd. 1. 19. 

1 Const. Apost. VIII. 31. Ambrosiaster, or Hilary the Deacon, in his Com. 
Ad Eph. 4 : 11, 12, says that in early times "omnes docebant et wines bcup- 

' Can. 98 : " Laicus prossentibus dericis, nisi ipsis jubentibus, docere <nm audeat." 
The 99th canon forbids women, no matter how "learned or holy," to "presume 
to teach men in a meeting." Pope Leo I. (Ep. 92 and 93) forbids lay preach- 
ing in the interest of ecclesiastical order. Charlemagne enacted a law that 
"a layman ought not to recite a lesson in church, nor to say the Hallelujah, 
tort only the Psalm or responses without the Hallelujah." 


and Lactantius, were either laymen, or at roost only presbyters. 
Hermas, who wrote one of the most popular and authoritative 
books in the early church, was probably a layman; perhaps 
also the author of the homily which goes under the name of the 
Second Epistle of Clement of Borne, and has recently been 
discovered in full both in the original Greek and in a Syriac 
translation ; for he seems to distinguish himself and his hearers 
from the presbyters. 1 

43. New Church Officers. 

The expansion of the church, the development of her cultus, 
and the tendency towards hierarchical pomp, led to the multi- 
plication of offices below the diaconate, which formed the 
ordines mmores. About the middle of the third century the 
following new officers are mentioned : 

1. SUB-DEACONS, or under-helpers; 2 assistants and deputies 
of the deacons; the only one of these subordinate offices for 
which a formal ordination was required. Opinions differ as to 
its value. 

2. KEADEKS, 3 who read the Scriptures in the assembly and 
had charge of the church books. 

3. ACOLYTHS/ attendants of the bishops in their official 
duties and processions. 

VSxoKCiSTS, 5 who, by prayer and the laying on of hands, 
cast oulrffl^dyl spirit from the possessed, 6 and from catechumens, 

1 The Greek text (of which only a fragment was known before) was found 
and published by Bryennios, 1875, the Syriac version by Bensley, 1876. See 
Harnack's ed. in the Patres Apost. vol. I., and Lightfoot, 8- Clement of Rome, 
Appendix (1877). Harnack, Hilgenfeld, and Hatch (L c. 114 ; note) suppose 
that the homily was delivered by a layman, but Lightfoot (p. 304) explains 
the language above alluded to as a common rhetorical figure by which the 
speaker places himself on a level with his audience. 

> TTroSi&Kovoi, subdiaconi, perhaps the same as the iiinipfrai of the New Tes- 
tament and the earlier fathers. 

* 'Avayvuffrai, l-ectores, mentioned by'Tertullian. 
, acolythi. 5 'EtjopKurrai, exorcistoe. 

132 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

and frequently assisted in baptism. This power had been for- 
merly considered a free gift of the Holy Spirit 

5. PBECENTOKS, 1 for the musical parts of the liturgy, psalms, 
benedictions, responses, etc. 

6. JANITOBS or sextons, 2 who took care of the religious meet- 
ing-rooms, and at a later period also of the church-yards. 

7. Besides these there were in the larger churches CATE- 
CHISTS, and, where the church language in the worship was not 
understood, INTEEPEETEES ; but the interpreting was commonly 
done by presbyters, deacons, or readers. 

The bishop Cornelius of Rome (d. 252), in a letter on the 
Novation schism, 3 gives the number of officers in his church as 
follows: Forty-six presbyters, probably corresponding to the 
number of the meeting-houses of the Christians in the city; 
seven deacons, after the model of the church at Jerusalem (Acts 
vi) ; seven sub-deacons ; forty-two acolyths, and fifty-two exor- 
cists, readers, and janitors. 

As to the ordiTies majores, the deacons during this period rose 
in importance. In addition to their original duties of caring 
for the poor and sick, they baptized, distributed the sacramental 
cup, said the church prayers, not seldom preached, and were 
confidential advisers, sometimes even delegates and vicars of the 
bishops. This last is true especially of the "archdeacon," who 
does not appear, however, till the fourth century. The presby- 
ters, on the contrary, though above the deacons, were now over- 
topped by the new office of bishop, in which the entire govern- 
ment of the church became centred. 

44, Origwi of the Episcopate. 

Besides the works already cited, compare the special works and essays 
on the Ignatian controversy, published since 1837, by EOTHE (close 
of his Anfdnge, etc.), HEFELE (R. 0.), BATTR, EILGENFELD, 
LIGHTFOOT (L- 376 sqq). Also R. D. HITCHCOCK on the Origin 

i Wkrai, psalmistae cantores. * Qvpopoij nvtopoi, ostiarii janitores. 

'InEuseb. vi. 43. 


of Episcopacy, N. Y. 1867 (in the "Am. Presbyt. &TheoL Keview" 

for Jan. 1867, pp. 133-169J ; LIGHTFOOT on the Christian Ministry 

(1873) ; HATCH on the Organization of the Early Christian Church 

(1881) ; EENAN, UEglise chretietim (1879), oh. VI. Progres de 

V&piscopat; and GrORE, The Ministry of the Church (1889). 

The most important and also the most difficult phenomenon 
of our period in the department of church -organization is the 
rise and development of the episcopate as distinct from the 
presbyterate. This institution comes to view in the second 
century as the supreme spiritual office, and is retained to this 
day by all Roman and Greek Christendom, and by a large part 
of the Evangelical church, especially the Anglican communion. 
A form of government so ancient and so widely adopted, can 
be satisfactorily accounted for only on the supposition of a 
religious need, namely, the need of a tangible outward repre- 
sentation and centralization, to illustrate and embody to the 
people their relation to Christ and to God, and the visible unity 
of the church. It is therefore inseparable from the catholic 
principle of authority and mediation; while the protestant 
principle of freedom and direct intercourse of the believer with 
Christ, consistently carried out, infringes the strict episcopal 
constitution, and tends to ministerial equality. Episcopacy in 
the full sense of the term requires for its base the idea of a real 
priesthood and real sacrifice, and an essential distinction between 
clergy and laity. Divested of these associations, it resolves 
itself into a mere superintendency. 1 

During the lifetime of the apostles, those eye- and ear-wit- 
nesses of the divine-human life of Jesus, and the inspired 
organs of the Holy Spirit, there was no room for proper 
bishops ; and those who were so called, must have held only a 

1 Such is the Swedish and Danish Lutheran, the American Methodist, and 
the Moravian episcopate, which recognizes the validity of non-episcopal 
orders. The Anglican church harhors a high-church and a low-church theory 
of episcopacy, the one derived from the medieval hierarchy, the other from 
the Beformation, but repudiates the primacy as an antichristian usurpation, 
although it must be confessed to be almost as old as episcopacy, its roots going 
back to Clement of Borne, or at all event" to the age of Irenaus. 

134 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-511. 

subordinate place. The church, too, in the first century was as 
yet a strictly supernatural organization, a stranger in this world, 
standing with one foot in eternity, and longing for the second 
coming of her heavenly bridegroom. But in the episcopal 
constitution the church provided an extremely simple but com- 
pact and freely expansible organization, planted foot firmly 
upon earth, became an institution for the education of her in- 
fant people, and, as chiliastic hopes receded, fell into the path 
of quiet historical development; yet unquestionably she thus 
incurred also the danger of a secularization which reached its 
height just when the hierarchy became complete in the Roman 
church, and which finally necessitated a reformation on the 
basis of apostolical Christianity. That this secularization began 
with the growing power of the bishops even before Constantine 
and the Byzantine court orthodoxy, we perceive, for instance, in 
the lax penitential .discipline, the avarice, and the corruption 
with which Hippolytus, in the ninth book of his Philosophu- 
mena, reproaches Zephyrinus and Callistus, the Roman bishops 
of his time (202-223) ; also in the example of the bishop Paul 
of Samosata, who was deposed in 269 on almost incredible 
charges, not only against his doctrine, but still more against hLs 
moral character. 1 Origen complains that there are, especially 
in the larger cities, overseers of the people of God, who seek to 
outdo the pomp of heathen potentates, would surround them- 
selves, like the emperors, with a body-guard, and make them- 
selves terrible and inaccessible to the poor. 2 

"We consider, first, the ORIGIN of the episcopate. The un- 
reliable character of our documents and traditions from the 
transition period between the close of the apostolic church and 
the beginning of the post-apostolic, leaves large room here for 
critical research and combination. First of all comes the ques- 
tion: Was the episcopate directly or indirectly of apostolic 

1 Comp. Euseb. vii. 27-30. 

1 See the passages quoted by Gieseler, vol. I. 282 sq, (Harpers' 'ed. of New 


(Johannean) origin? 1 Or did it arise after the death of the 
apostles, and.develope itself from the presidency of the congre- 
gational presbytery? 2 In other words, was the episcopate a 
continuation and contraction of, and substitute for, the apos- 
tolate, or was it an expansion and elevation of the presbyterate? 3 
The later view is more natural and better sustained by facts* 
Most of its advocates date the change from the time of Ignatius 
in the first quarter of the second century, while a few carry it 
further back to the close of the first, when St. John still lived 
in Ephesus. 

I. For the APOSTOLIC origin of episcopacy the following 
points may be made : 

(1) The position of James, who evidently stood at the head 
of the church at Jerusalem/ and is called bishop, at least in the 
pseudo-Clementine literature, and in fact supreme bishop of the 
whole church. 5 This instance, however, stands quite alone, and 
does not warrant an inference in regard to the entire church. 

(2) The office of the assistants and delegates of the apostles, 
like Timothy, Titus, Silas, Epaphroditus, Luke, Mark, who 
had a sort of supervision of several churches and congregational 
officers, and in a measure represented the apostles in special 
missions. But, in any case, these were not limited, at least 
during the life of the apostles, each to a particular diocese; 
they were itinerant evangelists and legates of the apostles; only 

1 Tills is the Greek, the Eoman Catholic, and the high Anglican theory. 
It is advocated by a very few Continental Protestants as Chevalier Bunsen, 
Rothe and Thiersch (an Irvingite), who trace episcopacy to John in 

2 So the Lutheran, Presbyterian, and some eminent Episcopal writers. We 
mention Mosheim, Neander, Lightfoot, Stanley, Hatch. Also Baur and 
Renan, who judge as mere critics. 

8 Bishop Lightfoot (1. c. p. 194) thus states the question with his own an- 
swer: "The episcopate was formed, not out of the apostolic order by localiza- 
tion, but out of the presbyterial by elevation; and the title, which originally 
was common to all, came at length to be appropriated to the chief among 

* Acts 15 : 13 ; 21 : 18. Comp. vol. T. 264 sqq. 

136 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-811. 

the doubtful tradition of a later day assigns them distinct 
bishoprics. If bishops at all, they were missionary bishops. 

(8) The angels of the seven churches of Asia/ who, if re- 
garded as individuals, look very like the later bishops, and indi- 
cate a monarchical shaping of the church government in the 
days of John. But, apart from the various interpretations of 
the Apocalyptic &ff&ot 9 that office appears not co-ordinate with 
the apostolate of John, but subordinate to it, and was no more 
than a congregational superintendency. 

(4) The testimony of Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of John, 
in his seven (or three) epistles from the beginning of the second 
century (even according to the shorter Syriac version), presup- 
poses the episcopate, in distinction from the presbyterate, as 
already existing, though as a new institution, yet in its growth. 

(5) The statement of Clement of Alexandria, 2 that John in- 
stituted bishops after his return from Patmos ; and the accounts 
of Irenseus, 8 Tertullian/ Eusebius, 6 and Jerome, 6 that the same 
apostle nominated and ordained Polycarp (with whom Ireuseus 
was personally acquainted) bishop of Smyrna. 

(6) The uncertain tradition in Eusebius, who derived it prob- 
ably from Hegesippus, that the surviving apostles and disciples 
of the apostles, soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, elected 
Symeon, the son of Klopas and a cousin of Jcsas, bishop of 
that city and successor of James. But this arrangement at bc&t 
was merely local, and not general. 7 

(7) The tradition of the churches of Antioch and Koine, 

1 Eev. 1 : 20. For the different views Bee vol. I. 497. 

* Quw dives sdws, c. 42. * Adv. JEToer. III. 8. 

* De Praeser. Haer. c. 32. 8 H. E. III. 36. 
6 Catd. sub Polyc. 

H. K III. 11. Comp. the fragment of Hegesippus, in IV. 22. Lightfoot 
(PhttippiaffiSj p. 202) remarks against Bothe's inference : "The account of 
Hegeaippns confines the object of this gathering to the appointment of a suc- 
cessor of 8k James. If its deliberations had exerted that vast and permanent 
influence on the future of the church which Rothe's theory suppose, it i& 
scarcely possible that this early historian should have been ignorant of tin 
feet, or knowing it should have passed it over in silence.'' 


which trace their line of bishops back to apostolic institution, 
and kept the record of an unbroken succession. 

(8) A passage in the second of the Pfaff Fragments of 
IrenaeuSj which speaks of " second ordinances of the apostles " 
(deurepat T&V dnoffTofav deardzetc). Rothe understands by 
these the institution of the episcopate. But aside from the 
doubtful genuineness of the Fragments, these words are at all 
events of unsettled interpretation, and, according to the con- 
nection, relate not to the government of the church at all, but 
to the celebration of the eucharist. 

(9) Equally uncertain is the conclusion drawn from an 
obscure passage in the Epistle of Clement of Rome to the 
Corinthians, which admits of different interpretations. 1 The 
apostles, it is said, foreseeing the future controversy about the 
name of the episcopal office, appointed bishops and deacons, 
and afterwards made the disposition, 2 that when they should 

1 Ad Corinth, c. 44: 01 &x6<rToXot yfjLQv eyvaxrav :<! Toy xupiov 

JipiffTOo on pt$ effrat ixi roD 3v6fj.a70$ TJJC intffxoxrjS. Aid. 
ofiv ri}V alriav irpdyycofftv e&^<Jre rehiav y.a^iarr^a.v robs 
x; xa\ fteragb ImvofL^v [or to/toiojv] l&uxav, &ra>?, lav 
WffW, dtad(i>vTat Srepot dedoxtpaa pivot ay$pe$ -cry AeiToopfiav 
avraiv. " Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would 
be strife over the name of the bishop's office [i. e. f the office of the ministry 
in general ; com p. Acts 1 : 20 ; Sept. Num. 4 : 16 ; Bs. 109 : 8 ; 2 Chr. 23 : 18]. 
For this cause, therefore, having complete foreknowledge, they appointed the 
aforesaid persons [i e., presbyter-bishops and deacons; comp. c. 42 and 57], 
and afterwards they made the disposition [or provided a continuance, if we 
read with Lightfoot iirtfumfv], that if these should fall asleep, other approved 
men should succeed to their ministration." 

2 The reading is obscure and disputed. The Alexandrian MS. reads: 
frcivofjLijv, the Constantinopolitan : entdofnjv (both have EUI-OMEN}. The 
former word is rare (from vfuo t or from vd/io?), the latter is not found in the 
dictionaries ; and hence various emendations have been proposed, as &^ovofjL7J\> 
(Juniua), littdoxyv (Bryennios), fatpobjv (von Gebhardt and Harnack), 
txtliovTJv (Bunsen, Lightfoot), fatrptnnjv (Hilgenfeld), ^dopjV, l.Kivop.iay y 
tntffTohjv, iKiTayyv, en vdfiov. Rothe (Anfange, p. 374) ingeniously trans* 
lates kmvofjLTiv " testamentary disposition " (testamenfariscJie Verfugung = 
^Trcvo/jtcV, an after-enactment, a codicil), and identifies it with the dsurspau 
dtard$et$ of the fragment of Irenseus. But this is rejected by the latest 
editors as untenable. Lightfoot (with Bunsen) reads iietfjLowjv> permanence 
(not "life-tenure," as Bunsen rendered it). The drift of the .-passage, how 

138 SECOND PEEIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

fall asleep, other approved men should follow them in office. 
Rothe refers "they" and "them" to the apostles as the main 
subject. But these words naturally refer to the congregational 
officers just before mentioned, and in this case the f( other ap- 
proved men " are not successors of the apostles, but of the pres- 
byter-bishops and deacons. 1 This view is sustained by the con- 
nection. The difficulty in the Corinthian congregation was a 
rebellion, not against a single bishop, but against a number of 
presbyter-bishops, and Clement reminds them that the apostles 
instituted this office not only for the first generation, but provided 
for a permanent succession, and that the officers were appointed 
for life, and could therefore not be deposed so long as they dis- 
charged their duties. Hence he goes on to say, immediately 
after the disputed passage in chapter 44 : " Wherefore we think 
that those cannot justly be thrown out of their ministry who 
were appointed either by them (the apostles), or afterwards by 
other eminent men, with the consent of the whole congregation; 
and who have with all lowliness and innocency ministered to 
the flock of Christ, in peace, and without self-interest, and were 
for a long time commended by all." 

(10) Finally, the philosophical consideration, that the uni- 
versal and uncontested spread of the episcopate in the second 
century cannot be satisfactorily explained without the presump- 
tion of at least the indirect sanction of the apostles. By the 
same argument the observance of Sunday and infant baptism 
are usually traced to apostolic origin. But it is not quite con- 
ever, does not so much depend upon the meaning of this word as upon the 
question whether the apostles, or the congregational officers are the grammati- 
cal subjects of the following verb, xotjjy&ajfftv. 

1 See also Gebhardt and Harnack (prestyteri et diawni Mi, gnos a/postoU ipsi 
wnstituemnt), the Roman Catholic editor Funk (" KOitaflltotv, ac. epwcopt et 
diaconi de quorum successzone Ctemens agit"), and Bishop Lightfoot ("the first 
generation of presbyters appointed by the apostles themselves"). Comp. also 
on this whole passage Lightfoot, Phttippicm, p. 203, where he refutes Rothe'a 
interpretation; Baur Ursprung des Episcopate, p. 53; Ewald, Oesch. des Volkei 
Tsrad, VIL 300 ; Hitachi, Alikath. K. 358 and 413, and Hilgenfeld, Apo& 
Voter, 70. 


elusive, since most of the apostles died before the destruction 
of Jerusalem. It could only apply to John, who was the living 
centre of the church in Asia Minor to the close of the first 
century. 1 

II. The theory of the POST-APOSTOUC origin of the episcopate 
as a separate office or order, and its rise out of the presidency 
of the original congregational presbyterate, by way of human, 
though natural and necessary, development, is supported by the 
following facts : 

(1) The undeniable identity of presbyters and bishops in the 
New Testament, 2 conceded even by the best interpreters among 
the church fathers, by Jerome, Chrysostom, and Theodoret, and 
by the best scholars of recent times. 

(2) Later, at the close of the first and even in the second 
century, the two terms are still used in like manner for the same 
office. The Eoman bishop Clement, in his First Epistle to the 
Corinthians says, that the apostles, in the newly-founded churches, 
appointed the first fruits of the faitb, i. e. } the first converts, 
"bishops and deacons." 3 He here omits the 7rpeerj9ure/w, as 
Pauhdoes in Phil. 1 : 1, for the simple reason that they are in 
his view identical with ixlffxonoe while conversely, in c. 57, he 
enjoins subjection to presbyters, without mentioning bishops. 4 

1 Hence Rothe traces the institution to John. And Bishop Lightfoot 
(Philippians, p. 204) is inclined to this view : *' Asia Minor was the nurse, if 
not the mother of episcopacy in the Gentile churches. So important an insti- 
tution, developed in a Christian community of which St. John was the living 
centre and guide, could hardly have grown up without his sanction: and early 
tradition very distinctly connects his name "with the appointment of bishops 
in these parts." He repeats the same view more confidently in his Igwxt,. 
and Potyc. , I. 377. 

Acts 20: 17, 28; Phil.l: 1; Tit. 1: 5; 1 Tim. 3: 1-7, 8-13; 1 Pet. 5: 
1, 2. Comp. the author's Hist, of the Apost. Oh. \\ 132, 133, pp. 522-531 (N. 
York ed.) ; and vol. I. p. 492 sqq. 

8 C. 42. Comp. the Commentary of Lightfoot "It is impossible that he 
should have omitted the presbyters, more especially as his one object is to 
defend their authority, which had been assailed. The words tnicROKos and 
irpttftbrspos therefore are synonymes in Clement, as they are in the apostolic 
irriters. In Ignatius and Polycarp they first appear as distinct titles." 

4 The fyovvevoi, c. 1, also, and the npoTjyabfiEvoi, c. 21, are not bishops, but 
congregational officers collectively, as in Heb. 13 : 7, 17, 24. 

140 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

The Didaehe mentions bishops and deacons, but no presbyter^ 1 
Clement of Alexandria distinguishes, it is true, the doiinmntc, 
the presbyterate, and the episcopate; but he supposes only a 
two-fold official character, that of presbyters, and that of 
deacons a view which found advocates so late as the middle 
ages, even in pope Urban II., A. D. 1091. L-wtly, Ircnajna, 
towards the close of the second century, though himself a 
bishop, makes only a relative difference between episcopi and 
presbyteri ; speaks of successions of the one in the same sense 
as of the other; terms the office of the latter episcopates; and 
calls the bishops of Eome " presbyters." 2 Sometimes, it is 
true, he appears to use the term " presbyters " in a more general 
sense, for the old men, the fathers. 3 But in any case his 
language shows that the distinction between the two offices was 
at that time still relative and indefinite. 

(3) The express testimony of the learned Jerome, that the 
churches originally, before divisions arose through the instiga- 
tion of Satan, were governed by the common council of the 
presbyters, and not till a later period was one of the presbyters 
placed at the head, to watch over the church and suppress 
schisms. 4 He traces the difference of the office simply to 
"ecclesiastical " custom as distinct from divine institution. 5 

(4) The custom of the church of Alexandria, where, from 
the evangelist Mark down to the middle of the third century, 
the twelve presbyters elected one of their number president, 
and called him bishop. This fact rests on the authority of Je- 

1 Ch. 15 : Xeiporwfaare kawolg kmotinovs KOI dutK&ixnif. Sec SchjiiTs mono- 
graph on the Didache, p. 211 sq. 

2 Ado. Haer. iii. 2 , | 2 ; 3, { 2 ; iv. 26, \ 2, {4 and \ 5. Conip. also the let- 
ter of Ireuseus to the Boman bishop Victor m Euscb., v. 24. 

3 Comp. 2 Jno. 1. and 3 Jno. 1. 

* Ad Titum i. 7. Comp. Epist. 83 and 85. 

8 Ad Tit. i. 7 : " Sicut ergo presbyt&ri sdunt, see ex ecdesice consueittdine ci, qui mln 
prcepositvs fuerit, esse subjectos, ita, episcopi nwerint, $e mwjk cowmtudwc, 
di&positwnis Dominica veritcde presbyteris esse rnajores et in commune dcbara 
siam regere." The Boman deacon Hilary (Ambrosiaster) says, ad 1 Tim. 
10: "I27c enim episcopus est, qui inter presbyteros primus eat." Comp. al 
Clirysostom Horn, xi, in Epist, 1 ad Tim. 3 : 8. 


rome, 1 and is confirmed independently by the Annals of the Alex- 
andrian patriarch, Eutychius, of the tenth century. 2 The latter 
states that Mark instituted in that city a patriarch (this is an 
anachronism) and twelve presbyters, who should fill the vacant 
patriarchate by electing and ordaining to that office one of their 
number and then electing a new presbyter, so as always to 
retain the number twelve. He relates, moreover, that down to 
the time of Demetrius, at the end of the second century, there 
was no bishop in Egypt besides the one at Alexandria; conse- 
quently there could have been no episcopal ordination except by 
going out of the province. 

III. CONCLUSION. The only satisfactory* conclusion from 
these various facts and traditions seems to be, that the episco- 
pate proceeded, both in the descending and ascending scale, 
from the apostolate and the original presbyterate conjointly, as 
a contraction of the former and an expansion of the latter, 
without either express concert or general regulation of the 
apostles, neither of which, at least, can be historically proved. 
It arose, instinctively, as it were, in that obscure and critical 
transition period between the end of the first and the middle 
of the second century. It was not a sudden creation, much less 
the invention of a single mind. It grew, in part, out of the 
general demand for a continuation of, or substitute for, the 

1 Epist. ad Evangdum ( Opp. iv. p. 802, ed. Martinay) : Alexandria a Mam 
ewmgdista usque ad Heradam et Dionysium episcopos presbyteri semper uwm ex 
se electum in excdsiori gradu cottocatunj episcopum nominabaTti, gwmodo si exertifou 
imperatorem facial, aut diaconi elegant de se, quern industrium aoverint et archi- 
diaconum vacant. 

8 Ed. Oxon. 1658, p. 331 : " Constituit evangdista Marcus wia cum Bakcaiia 
patriarcha duodecim presbyteros, qui nempe cum patriarchs manerent, adeo trf euw 
vacaret patriachatuSj unum e duodecim presbyteris different, cnius capiti rdiqwi 
^ndecim mantis imponentes ipsi lenedicerent et pafrwrcham crearentj deinde wnm 
aliquem vtisign&m, digerent, quern secwai presbyterum constituerent, loco ejv^ gui 
foetus est patriarchaj ut ica semper exstarent duodecim. Neque desiti Alewndriae 
institutum hoc de presbyteris, tit scUcet -patriarehas crearent ex presbyteris dwdecim, 
usque ad tempora Alexandri patriarchs AtexaTidriae. Is autem vetuit, ne deincep* 
pairiarcham presbyteri crearent. Et decrervit, ut waortuo patriarch* 
tpiscopi, qi^jpatriarcham ordinarent." 

142 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

apostolic church government, and this, so far as it was 
missible at all, very naturally passed first to the most eminent 
disciples and fellow-laborers of the apostles, to Mark, Luke, 
Timothy, Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Papias, which accounts 
for the fact that tradition makes them all bishops in the promi- 
nent sense of the term. It was further occasioned by the need 
of a unity in the presbyterial government of congregations, 
which, in the nature of the case and according to the analogy 
of the Jewish dp^effu^d^^o^ 1 required a head or president. 
This president was called bishop, at first only by eminence, as 
primus inter pares; afterwards in the exclusive sense. In the 
smaller churches there was, perhaps, from the beginning, only 
one presbyter, who of himself formed this centre, like the 
chorepisoopi or country-bishops in the fourth century. The 
dioceses of the bishops in Asia Minor and North Africa, owing 
to their large number, in the second and third centuries, can 
hardly have exceeded the extent of respectable pastoral charges. 
James of Jerusalem, on the other hand, and his immediate 
successors, whose positions in many respects were altogether 
peculiar, seem to have been the only bishops in Palestine. 
Somewhat similar was the state of things in Egypt, where, 
down to Demetrius (A.D. 190-232), we find only the one bishop 
of Alexandria. 

"We cannot therefore assume any strict uniformity. But the 
whole church spirit of the age tended towards centralization; 
it everywhere felt a demand for compact, solid unity ; and this 
inward bent, amidst the surrounding dangers of persecution and 
heresy, carried the church irresistibly towards the episcopate. 
In so critical and stormy a time, the principle, union is strength, 
division is weakness, prevailed over all. In fact, the existence 
of the church at that period may be said to have depended in a 
great measure on the preservation and promotion of unity, and 
that in an outward, tangible form, suited to the existing grade 
of culture. Such a unity was offered in the bishop, who held a 

1 Mark 5 : 35, 36, 38 ; Luke 8 : 41-49 ; Acts 18 : 8-i/. 


monarchical, or more properly a patriarchal relation to the con- 
gregation. In the bishop was found the visible representative 
of Christ, the great Head of the whole church. In the bishop, 
therefore, all sentiments of piety found a centre. In the 
bishop the whole religious posture of the people towards God 
and towards Christ had its outward support and guide. And 
iu proportion as every church pressed towards a single centre, 
this central personage must acquire a peculiar importance and 
subordinate the other presbyters to itself; though, at the same 
time, as the language of Clement and Irenaeus, the state of 
things in Egypt, and even in North Africa, and the testimony 
of Jerome and other fathers, clearly prove, the remembrance of 
the original equality could not be entirely blotted out> but con- 
tinued to show itself in various ways. 

Besides this there was also a powerful practical reason for 
elevating the powers of the bishop. Every Christian congre- 
gation was a charitable society, regarding the care of the widow 
and orphan, the poor and the stranger as a sacred trust ; and 
hence the great importance of the bishop as the administrative 
officer by whom the charitable funds were received and the alms 
disbursed. In Greek communities the title bishop (ixfoxozoc, 
iTO/je^r^'c) was in wide use for financial officers. Their ad- 
tninistrative functions brought them in close relation to the 
deacons, as their executive aids in the care of the poor and sick. 
The archdeacon became the right arm, the a eye" and "heart" 
of the bishop. In primitive times every case of poverty or 
suffering was separately brought to the notice of the bishop and 
personally relieved by a deacon. Afterwards institutions were 
founded for widows and orphans, poor and infirm, and generally 
placed under the superintendence of the bishop; but personal 
responsibility was diminished by this organized charity, and the 
deacons lost their original significance and became subordinate 
officers of public worship. 1 

1 The philanthropic and financial aspect of episcopacy has been brought out 
very folly by Hatch, in his Bampton Lectures on Tb& Organisation of the Earlj 
Churches, Lect. IL 

144 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Whatever may be thought, therefore, of the origin and the 
divine right of the episcopate, no impartial historian can deny 
its adaptation to the wants of the church at the time, and its 
historical necessity. 

But, then, this primitive catholic episcopal system must by no 
means be confounded with the later hierarchy. The dioceses, 
excepting those of Jerusalem, "Ephesus, Alexandria, Antioch, 
and Rome, must have long remained very small, if we look at 
fche number of professing Christians. In the Apocalypse seven 
such centres of unity are mentioned within a comparatively 
small compass in Asia Minor, and at a time when the number of 
Christians was insignificant. In the year 258, Cyprian assem- 
bled a council of eighty-seven bishops of North Africa. The 
functions of the bishops were not yet strictly separated from 
those of the presbyters, and it was- only by degrees that ordina- 
tion, and, in the Western church, confirmation also, came to be 
intrusted exclusively to the bishops. 

45. Development of the Episcopate. Ignatius. 

It is matter of fact that the episcopal form of government was 
universally established in the Eastern and Western church as 
early as the middle of the second century. Even the heretical 
sects, at least the Ebionites, as we must infer from the commen- 
dation of the episcopacy in the pseudo-Clementine literature, 
were organized on this plan, as well as the later schismatic par- 
ties of Novatians, Donatists, etc. But it is equally undeniable, 
that the episcopate reached its complete form only step by step. 
In the period before us we must note three stages in this 
development connected with the name of Ignatius in Syria 
(d. 107 or 115), Irenaeus in Gaul (d. 202), and Cyprian in North 
Africa (d. 258). 

The episcopate first appears, as distinct from the presbyterate, 
but as a congregational office only (in distinction from the 
diocesan idea), and as yet a young institution, greatly needing 
commendation, in the famous seven (or three) Epistles of Igna< 


tins of Antioch, a disciple of the apostles, and the second bishop 
of that see (Evodius being the first, and Hero the third). He is 
also the first who uses the term " catholic church/ 3 as if episco- 
pacy and catholicity sprung up simultaneously. The whole 
story of Ignatius is more legendary than real, and his writings 
are subject to grave suspicion of fraudulent interpolation. We 
have three different versions of the Ignatian Epistles, but only 
one of them can be genuine ; either the smaller Greet version, 
or the lately discovered Syriac. 1 In the latter, which contains 
only three epistles, most of the passages on the episcopate are 
wanting, indeed; yet the leading features of the institution 
appear even here, and we can recognise e& ungue konem. 2 In 
any case they reflect the public sentiment before the middle of 
the second centnry. 

The substance of these epistles (with the exception of that to 
the Romans, in which, singularly enough, not a word is said 
about bishops 3 ), consists of earnest exhortations to obey the 

1 The question of the genuineness will be discussed in ? 165 (p. 660). 
Cureton (1845) Bunsen, Lipsius, and others accept the Syriac version as 
the original form of the Ignatian epistles, and regard even the short Greek 
text as corrupt, but yet as dating from the middle of the second century. 
Rothe, Hefele, Schaff (first ed.), Diisterdieck, Uhlhorn, Zahn, Harnack, defend 
the genuineness of the shorter Greek recension. The larger Greek recension 
is universally given up as spurious. The origin of the hierarchical system ia 
obscured by pious frauds. See below, J 164 and 165. 

2 In the Syriac Ep. to Polycarp, the word bishop occurs four times ; in the 
Syriac Ep. to the Ephesians, God is blessed for having given them such a bishop 
as Onesimus. In the shorter Greek Ep. to Polycarp episcopacy is mentioned 
in the salutation, and in three of the eight chapters (ch. 5 twice, ch. 6 twice, 
ch. 8 once). In the 21 chapters of the Greek Ep. to the Uph-esians, the woid 
bishop occurs thirteen times, presbyter three times, and deacon once (in the first 
six chapters, and ch. 21). In the Greek TraUians, the bishop appears nine 
times ; in the Magnesians, eleven times ; in the Phttaddphians, eight times ; in 
the Smyrrweans, nine times. Thus in the three Syriac Epistles the bishop is 
mentioned hut six times ; in the seven shorter Greek Epistles about fifty times; 
but one of the strongest passages is found in the Syriac Epistle to Polycarp 
(ch. 5. and 6.). 

Except that Ignatius speaks of himself as * the bishop of Syria," who 
"has found favor with God, being sent from the East to the West" (ch. 2V 
The verb eiriffKOTrfo is also used, but of Christ (ch. 9). 
Vol. TT. 10 

146 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

bishop and maintain the unity of the church against the Juda 
istic and docetic heresies. With the near prospect and the most 
ardent desire for martyrdom, the author has no more fervent 
wish than the perfect inward 'and outward unity of the faith- 
ful; and to this the episcopate seems to him indispensable. In 
his view Christ is the invisible supreme head, the one great 
universal bishop of all the churches scattered over the earth. 
The human bishop is the centre of unity for the single congre- 
gation, and stands in it as the vicar of Christ and even of God. 1 
The people, therefore, should unconditionally obey him, and do 
nothing without his will. Blessed are they who are one with 
the bishop, as the church is with Christ, and Christ with the 
Father, so that all harmonizes in unity. Apostasy from the 
bishop is apostasy from Christ, who acts in and through the 
bishops as his organs. 

We shall give passages from the shorter Greek text (as edited 
by Zahn) : 

" If any one is able to continue in purity (Iv &rvst<]L,i. e., in the 
state of celibacy), to the honor of the flesh of our Lord, let him 
continue so without boasting ; if he boasts, he is lost (dbr^ero) ; 
if he become known more than the bishop, 2 he is corrupt 
(ef&aptae). It is becoming, therefore, to men and women who 
marry, that they marry by the counsel of the bishop, that the 
marriage may be in the Lord, and not in -lust. Let every thing 
be done for the honor of God. Look to the bishop, that God 
also [may look] upon you. I will be in harmony with those 
who are subject to the bishop, and the presbyters, and the 
deacons; with them may I have a portion near God!" This 
passage is one of the strongest, and occurs in the Syriac Epistle 
to Polycarp as well as in the shorter Greek recension. 5 It 
characteristically connects episcopacy with celibacy: the as- 

efc r6nov $ew TrpoKa&faEvoe, each bishop being thus a sort of pope. 

8 Zahn reads, Ad Polyc. cap. 5 : kav yvoGftq irteov TOV kma^iroVj i. e. if he be 
better known or more esteemed than the bishop. The other reading is, TT^V, 
beyond, or apart from. 

1 Ad Polyc. cap. 5 and 6 The Greek text yaries but little from the Syriac. 


cetic system of Catholicism starts in celibacy,. as the hierarchical 
organization of Catholicism takes its rise in episcopacy. "It 
becomes you to be in harmony with the mind (or sentence, 
P^ffl?) f ^ e bishop, as also ye do. For your most estimable 
presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted to the bishop as the strings 
are to the harp." l " It is evident that we should look upon the 
bishop as we do upon the Lord himself." 2 "I exhort you that 
ye study to do all things with a divine concord: the bishop pre- 
siding in the place of God (e*V r6xov #eoD), and presbyters in 
the place of the college of the apostles, (ec rdxov auvedplou r<#> 
d.noar6hov), and the deacons, most dea to me, being intrusted 
with the ministry (dfoxoviav) of Jesus Christ, who was with the 
Father before all ages, and in the end appeared to us." 3 " Be 
subject to the bishop, and to one another, as Christ [was subject] 
to the Father according to the flesh, and the apostles to Christ 
and to the Father and to the Spirit, in order that the union be 
carnal (aapxtxq), as well as spiritual." 4 " It is necessary, as is 
your habit, to do nothing without the bishop, and that ye should 
be subject also to the presbytery (rep xpeffpureplw), as to the apos- 
tles of Jesus Christ." 5 " As many as are of God and of Jesus 
Christ, are also with their bishop." 6 " Let all of you follow 
the bishop, as Jesus Christ [follows] the Father; and the pres- 
bytery as ye would the apostlas ; and reverence the deacons as 
the ordinance of God. Without the bishop let no one do any- 
thing connected with the church. Let that eucharist be ao- 
counted valid which is [offered] under the bishop or by one he 
has appointed. Wherever the bishop is found, there let the 
people be; as wherever Christ is, there is the catholic church. 

1 Ad Ephes. c. 4: Oora>q ffvvijpfjLOffrai rw en tffxdna), &<; %opdal xt&dpa. 

2 Ad Ephes. c. 6: Tdv olv snfoxoxov d^Xov ott a>q aMv rdv xbptov el 

3 Ad Magnes. c- 6. 

* Ibid. c. 13. The desire for *' carnal" unity is significant. 

5 Ad TraUian. c. 2: y Ava^xatov sffrtv, cbffxep jroeetTe, avsu TOO 

TTpdffffeiv ofj.5.*;, x. r. L 
Ad PMlad. ^ 3. 

148 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Without the bishop it is not lawful either to baptize or to cele- 
brate a love-feast." l 

This is the first time that the term "catholic" is applied 
to the church, and that episcopacy is made a condition of 

"He that honors the bishop, shall be honored by God; he 
that does anything without the knowledge of the bishop serves 
the devil." 2 

This is making salvation pretty much depend upon obe- 
dience to the bishop ; just as Leo L, three centuries later, in the 
controversy with Hilary of Aries, made salvation depend upon 
obedience to the pope by declaring every rebel against the pope 
to be a servant of the devil ! Such daring superabundance 
of episcopalianism clearly betrays some special design and raises 
the suspicion of forgery or large interpolations. . But it may 
also be explained as a special pleading for a novelty which to 
the mind of the writer was essential to the very existence of 
the church. 

The peculiarity in this Ignatian view is that the bishop 
appears in it as the head and centre of a single congregation, 
and not as equally the representative of the whole church; also, 
that (as in the pseudo-Clementine Homilies) he is the vicar of 
Christ^ and not, as in the later view, merely the successor of the 
apostles, the presbyters and deacons around him being repre- 
sented as those successors ; and finally, that there are no distinc- 
tions of order among the bishops, no trace of a primacy; all 
are fully coordinate vicars of Christ, who provides for him- 
self in them, as it were, a sensible, perceptible omnipresence 
in the church. The Ignatian episcopacy, in short, is congrega- 
tional, not diocesan ; a new and growing institution, not a settled 
policy of apostolic origin. 

1 Ad. Smyrn. c. 8 : "Oxou av <pavrj 6 Infaxonos, hsl TO nJLfj&o 
&ffittp $nou &v TJ XpiffTbt; 7^tfoDc, &el 9 xaftohxy xxJLyffta. 
a Ad 8myrn. c. 9 : *0 Tt^aiv ^iffxoTcov find fteou Tertfajrat' 6 


46. Episcopacy at the time of Irenceus and Tertidlian. 

In all these points the id&a of the episcopate in Irenseus, the 
great opponent of Gnosticism (about 180), is either lower or 
higher. This father represents the institution as a diocesan 
office, and as the continuation of the apostolate, as the vehicle of 
the catholic tradition, and the support of doctrinal unity in oppo- 
sition to heretical vagaries. He exalts the bishops of the original 
apostolic churches, above all the church of Rome, and speaks 
with great emphasis of an unbroken episcopal succession as a 
test of apostolic teaching and a bulwark against heresy. 1 

At the same time the wavering terminology of Irenseus in the 
interchangeable use of the words "bishop" and "presbyter 55 
reminds us of Clement of Rome, and shows that the distinction 
of the two orders was not yet fully fixed. 2 

i Comp. Adv. Har. in. 3, ? 1, 2 ; 4, 1 ; IV. 33, 8. I remember what great 
stress the late Dr. Pusey, when I saw him at Oxford in 1S44, laid on the testi- 
mony of Ireneeus for the doctrine of an unbroken episcopal succession, as the 
indispensable mark of a genuine Catholic church ; while he ignored the simul- 
taneous growth of the primacy, which a year afterwards carried his friend, J. 
H. Newman, over to the church of Borne. The New Testament is the only 
safe guide and ultimate standard in all matters of faith and discipline. The 
teaching of Irenseus on episcopacy is well set forth by Lightfoot (I. c. p. 237) : 
"Irenseus followed Ignatius after an interval of about two generations. With 
the altered circumstances of the Church, the aspect of the episcopal office has 
also undergone a change. The religious atmosphere is now charged with 
heretical speculations of all kinds. Amidst the competition of rival teachers, 
all eagerly bidding for support, the perplexed believer asks for some decisive 
test by which he may try the claims of disputants. To this question Irenaaus 
supplies an answer. ' If you wish/ he argues, f to ascertain the doctrine of the 
Apostles, apply to the Church of the Apostles.' In the succession of bishops 
tracing their descent from the primitive age and appointed by the Apostles 
themselves, you have a guarantee for the transmission of the pure faith, which 
no isolated, upstart, self-constituted teacher can furnish. There is the Church 
of Eome for instance, whose episcopal pedigree is perfect in all its links, and 
whose earliest bishops, Linus and Clement, associated with the Apostles them- 
selves : there is the Church of Smyrna again, whose bishop Polycarp, the dis- 
ciple of St. John, died only the other day. " Thus the episcopate is regarded 
now not so much as the centre of ecclesiastical unity, but rather as the depositary 
of apostolic tradition" 

>< Comp. Adv. Haer. III. 2, \ 2; IV. 20; V. 20; and his letter to Victor of 
Rome in Eusebius, H. E. V. 24. 

150 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

The same view of the episcopal succession as the preserver of 
apostolic tradition and guardian of orthodox doctrine, we find 
also, though less frequently, in the earlier writings of Tertullian, 
with this difference that he uniformly and clearly distinguishes 
bishops and presbyters, and thus proves a more advanced state 
of the episcopal polity at his time (about 200). 1 But afterwards, 
in the chiliastic and democratic cause of Montanism, he broke 
with the episcopal hierarchy, and presented against it the anti- 
thesis that the church does not consist of bishops, and that the 
laity are also priests. 2 

47. Oyprianie Episcopacy. 

The old catholic episcopalianism reached its maturity in the 
middle of the third century in the teaching and example gf 
Cyprian, bishop and martyr of the church in North Africa. He 
represents the claims of episcopacy in close connection with the 
idea of a special priesthood and sacrifice. 3 He is the typical 
high-churchman of the ante-Nicene age. He vigorously put 
into practice what he honestly believed. He had a good oppor- 
tunity to assert his authority in the controversy about the lapsed 
during the Decian persecution, in the schism of Felicissimus, 
and in the controversy on heretical baptism. 

Cyprian considers the bishops as the bearers of the Holy 
Spirit, who passed from Christ to the apostles, from them by 
ordination to the bishops, propagates himself in an unbroken 
line of succession, and gives efficacy to all religious exercises. 
Hence they are also the pillars of the unity of the church ; nay, 
in a certain sense they are the church itself. " The bishop," 

1 De Praesor. Hoer. c. 32, 36. 

2 Non ecdesia numerus episcoporum. De Pudic. c. 21. Comp. \ 42, p. 128. 

8 ''As Cyprian crowned the edifice of episcopal power, so also was he the first 
to put forward without relief or disguise the sacerdotal assumptions : and so 
uncompromising was the tone in which he asserted them, that nothing was left 
to his successors but to enforce his principles and reiterate his language." 
Lightfoot I c. p. 257. "If with Ignatius the bishop is the centre of Christian 
unity, if with Irenasus he is the depository of apostolic tradition, with Cypriai 
he is the absolute vicegerent of Christ in things spiritual. 1 ' Ibid. p. 238. 


says he, " is in the church, and the church in the bishop, and if 
any one is not with the bishop he is not in the church." 1 
And this is the same with him as to say, he is no Christian. 
Cyprian is thoroughly imbued with the idea of the solidary 
unity of the episcopate, the many bishops exercising only one 
office in solidum, each within his diocese, and each at the same 
time representing in himself the whole office. 3 

But with all this, the bishop still appears in Cyprian in the 
closest connexion with the presbyters. He undertook no impor- 
tant matter without their advice. The fourth general council, 
at Carthage, A.D. 398, even declared the sentence of a bishop, 
without the concurrence of the lower clergy, void, and decreed 
that in the ordination of a presbyter, all the presbyters, with the 
bishop, should lay their hands on the candidate. 3 

The ordination of a bishop was performed by the neighboring 
bishops, requiring at least three in number. In Egypt, however, 
so long as there was but one bishop there, presbyters must have 
performed the consecration, which Eutychius 4 and Hilary the 
Deacon 5 expressly assert was the case. 

48. The Pseudo-Clementine Episcopacy. 

Besides this orthodox or catholic formation of the episcopate, 
the kindred monarchical hierarchy of the Ebionitic sect de- 
serves attention, as it meets us in the pseudo-Clementine 
Homilies. Chronologically this falls in the middle of the 
second century, between Ignatius and Irenseus, and forms a sort 

1 Epfet. Ixvi. 3. Comp. Ep. lv. 20 : Christianus non est } qwi in Ghristi ecclesia 
non est. 

2 De Unit. Ecd. c. 5 : Hfyiscopatus unus est, cujus a singulis in solidwn pars 
tenetur. 'Comp. Ep. lv. 20 : Qmm sit a Christo una ecclesia per totum mundum 
in multa membra divisa, item episcopates unus episcoporum multorvm concordi 

8 Can. 3 : Presbyter quum ordinatur, episcopo eum benedicente et manum super 
caput ejus tenente t etiam omnes presbyteri, qui praesentes sunt, manus suas juxfa 

manum episcopi super capui unus wnewu. 

4 JSutyehii Patriarchce Alexandr. Annal. interpr. Pocockio (Oxon. 1658, 1. p^ 
331). See the passage quoted, p. 141. 

* Or Ambrosiaster, Ad Eph. iv. 11. 

152 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

of transition from the former to the latter ; though it cannot 
exactly be said to have influenced the Catholic chorch. It is 
rather a heretical counterpart of the orthodox episcopate. The 
organization which consolidated the Catholic church answered 
the same purpose for a sect. The author of the pseudo- 
Clementina, like Ignatius, represents the bishop as the vicar of 
Christ, 1 and at the same time, according to the view of Irenseus, 
as the vicar and successor of the apostles ; 2 but outstrips both 
in his high hierarchical expressions, such as xd&ed/ja $p6vo$ 
roD Intffxonou, and in his idea of the primacy, or of a universal 
church monarchy, which he finds, however, not as Irenaeus 
suggests and Cyprian more distinctly states, in Peter and the 
Roman see, but, agreeably to his Judaistic turn, in James of 
Jerusalem, the " bishop of bishops." 3 

The Maniohseans had likewise a hierarchical organization (as 
the Mormons in modern times). 

Montanism, on the other hand, was a democratic reaction 
against the episcopal hierarchy in favor of the general priest- 
hood, and the liberty of teaching and prophesying, but it was 
excommunicated and died out, till it reappeared under a dif- 
ferent form in Quakerism. 

49. Beginnings of the Metropolitan and Patriarchal Systems. 

Though the bishops were equal in their dignity and powers as 
successors of the apostles, they gradually fell into different ranks, 
according to the ecclesiastical and political importance of their 
several districts. 

1. On the lowest level stood the bishops of the country 
churches, the chorepisGopi who, though not mentioned before 
the beginning of the fourth century, probably originated at an 
'earlier period. 4 They stood between the presbyters and the city 

i Horn. iii. 60, 62, 66, 70. Ep. Clem,, ad Jac. 17. Comp. Beeogn. iii. 06. 
* H<m. xi. 36 ; Recogn. iii. 66 ; vi. 15. 
'E7r/ff/a>7ro kKLGriiruv, ffom. xi. 35 ; Eecogn. iv. 35. 

4 The country bishops (xopeirtffKQKoi) appear first in the councils of Ancyra 
ad Neo-Csesarea, 314, and again in the Council of Nicaea. They continued to 


bishops, and met the wants of episcopal supervision in the 
villages of large dioceses in Asia Minor and Syria, also in 

2. Among the city bishops the metropolitans rose above the rest, 
that is, the bishops of the capital cities of the provinces. 1 They 
presided in the provincial synods, and, as primi inter pares, 
ordained the bishops of the province. The metropolitan system 
appears, from the Council of Nicsea in 325, to have been already 
in operation at the time of Constantine and Eusebius, and was 
afterwards more fully carried out in the East. In JSTorth Africa 
the oldest bishop, hence called senex, stood as primas, at the head 
of his province; but the bishop of Carthage enjoyed the highest 
consideration, and could summon general councils. 

3. Still older and more important is the distinction of apostohc 
mother-churches, 2 such as those at Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexan- 
dria, Ephesus, Corinth, and Borne. In the time of Irenaeus 
and Tertullian they were held in the highest regard, as the chief 
bearers of the pure church tradition. Among these Antioch, 
Alexandria, and Eome were most prominent, because they were 
the capitals respectively of the three divisions (eparchice) of the 
Roman empire, and centres of trade and intercourse, combining 
with their apostolic origin the greatest political weight To the 
bishop of Antioch fell all Syria as his metropolitan district ; to 
the bishop of Alexandria, all Egypt ; to the bishop of Borne, 
central and lower Italy, without definite boundaries. 

4. Here we have the germs of the eparchal or patriarchal sys- 
tem, to wfeich the Greek church to this day adheres. The name 
patriarch was at first, particularly in the East, an honorary title 
for all bishops, and was not till the fourth century exclusively 

exist in the East till the 9th century, when they were superseded by the exarchs 
(&apxpi)i In the West, the chorepiscopi performed regular episcopal functions, 
without proper subordination to the diocesans, and hence excited jealousy and 
hostility till tne office was abolished under Charlemagne, and continued only 
as a title ot various cathedral dignitaries. See Haddan in Smith & Cheetham, 
Diet. Chr. Ant. L 354> *&& && authorities quoted there* 

Sedes avostolica, matrices ecetexfa* 

154 - SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

appropriated to the bishops of the three ecclesiastical and poli- 
tical capitals of the Roman empire, Antioch, Alexandria and 
Rome, and also to the bishop of Jerusalem honoris causa, and 
the bishop of Constantinople or New Rome. So in the West 
the term papa afterwards appropriated by the Roman bishop, 
as summus pontifex, vioarius Christi, was current for a long time 
in a more general application. 

50. Germ of the Papacy. 
Oomp. the Lit. in vol. I. ? 25 (p. 245). 

BLONDEL: Fraite historique de laprimauti en Ffylise. Geneve, 1641. 

SALMASITTS: De Primaiu Papce. Lugd. Bat. 1645. 

Is. BABBOW: The Pope's Supremacy. Lond, 1680 (new ed. Oxf. 1836. 
K York, 1845). 

EOTEENSEE (E. C.): Der Primat Des Papstes in alien christlichen 
Jahrhunderten, 3 vols. Mainz, 1836-38 (1. 1-98). 

KEXRICE: (E. C., archbishop of Baltimore, d. 1853) : The Primacy of the 
Apostolic See vindicated. N. York, 4th ed. 1855. 

E. I. WILBERFOBCE (formerly archdeacon in the Anglican church ; died 
in the Eoman church, 1857) : An Inquiry into the Principles of Church 
Authority; or Reasons for Recalling my subscriptions to the Royal 
Supremacy. Lond. 1854 (ch. vi.-x.). 

J. E. EIDDLE : The History of the Papacy to the Period of the Reforma- 
tion. Lond. 1856. 2 vols. (Chapter 1, p. 2-113 ; chiefly taken from 
Schrockh and Planck). 

THOMAS GREEJSTWOOD: Cathedra Petri. 'A Political History of the great 
Latin Patriarchate. Lond. 1856-1872. 6 vols. Yol. L ch. I.-VI. 
(A work of independent and reliable learning.) 

JOH. FBIEDBICH (Old Oath.) : Zur altesten Geschichte des Primates in der 
Kirche. Bonn, 1879. 

E. EENAN: Conferences d'Angleterre. Rome et le christianisme. Paris 
1880. The Hibbert Lectures delivered in Lond. 1880. English 
translation by Charles Beard, London (Williams & Norgate) 1880, 
another by Erskine Clement (Boston, 1880). Consists mostly of ex- 
tracts from his books on the Origin of Christianity, skillfully put 

E. FOEMBT (E. C.) : Ancient Rome and its connection wth the Christian 

Religion. London 1880. 
Jos. LANGEN (Old Oath.) : Geschichte der romiscnen Kirche bis zum Pontifi* 

cote Leo's L Bonn, 1881. 
jft. F. LHTLEDALE (Anglo-Oath.): The Petrine Claims. A Oritical 

Inguii'y. London 1889. Controversial. 


Among the great bishops of Antioch, Alexandria, and Borne, 
the Roman bishop combined all the conditions for a primacy, 
which, from a purely honorary distinction, gradually became the 
basis of a supremacy of jurisdiction. The same propension to 
monarchical unity, which created out of the episcopate a centre, 
first for each congregation, then for each diocese, pressed on 
towards a visible centre for the whole church. Primacy and 
episcopacy grew together. In the present period we already 
find the faint beginnings of the papacy, in both its good and its 
evil features ; and with them, too, the first examples of earnest 
protest against the abuse of its power. In the Nicene age ihe 
bishop of Jerusalem was made an honorary patriarch in view of 
the antiquity of that church, though his diocese was limited ; and 
from the middle of the fourth century the new patriarch of 
Constantinople or New Rome, arose to the primacy among thfe 
eastern patriarchs, and became a formidable rival of the bishop 
of old Rome. 

The Roman church claims not only human but divine right 
for the papacy, and traces its institution directly to Christ, when 
he assigned to Peter an eminent position in the work of found- 
ing his church, against which even the gates of hades shall 
never prevail. This claim implies several assumptions, viz. (1) 
that Peter by our Lord's appointment had not simply a primacy 
of personal excellency, or of honor and dignity (which must be 
conceded to him), but also a supremacy of jurisdiction over the 
other apostles (which is contradicted by the fact that Peter him- 
self never claimed it, and that Paul maintained a position of 
perfect independence, and even openly rebuked him at An- 
tioch, Gal. 2 : 11); (2) that the privileges of this primacy and 
supremacy are not personal only (as the peculiar gifts of Paul 
or John undoubtedly were), but official, hereditary and trans- 
ferable ; (3) that they were actually transferred by Peter, not upon 
the bishop of Jerusalem, or Antioch (where Peter certainly was), 
but upon the bishop of Rome ; (4) that Peter was not only at 
Rome (which is very probable after 63, though not as certain 
as Paul's presence and martyrdom in Rome), but acted there 

156 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

as bishop till his martyrdom, and appointed a successor (of 
which there is not the slightest historical evidence); and (5) that 
the bishops of Rome, as successors of Peter, have always en- 
joyed and exercised an universal jurisdiction over the Christian 
church (which is not the case as a matter of fact, and still less 
as a matter of conceded right). 

Leaving a full discussion of most of these points to polemical 
theology, we are here concerned with the papacy as a growth of 
history, and have to examine the causes which have gradually 
raised it to its towering eminence among the governing institu- 
tions of the world. 

The historical influences which favored the ascendency of the 
Roman see were : 

(1) The high antiquity of the Roman church, which had 
been honored even by Paul with the most important doctrinal 
epistle of the New Testament. It was properly the only apos- 
tolic mother-church in the West, and was thus looked upon 
from the first by the churches of Italy, Gaul, and Spain, with 
peculiar reverence. 

(2) The labors, martyrdom, and burial at Rome of Peter and 
Paul, the two leading apostles. The whole Roman congrega- 
tion passed through the fearful ordeal of martyrdom during 
the Neronian persecution, but must soon afterwards have been 
reorganized, with a halo of glory arising from the graves of the 

(3) The political pre-eminence of that metropolis of the world, 
which was destined to rule the European races with the sceptre 
of the cross, as she had formerly ruled them with the sword. 

(4) The executive wisdom and the catholic orthodox instinct 
of the Roman church, which made themselves felt in this 
period in the three controversies on the time of Easter, the 
penitential discipline, and the validity of heretical baptism. 

To these may be added, as secondary causes, her firmness 
under persecutions, and her benevolent care for suffering 
brethren, even in distant places, as celebrated by Dionysius of 
Corinth (180), and by Eusebius. 


From the time of St. Paul's Epistle (58), when he bestowed 
high praise on the earlier Eoman converts, to the episcopate 
of Victor at the close of the second centurj ; and the unfavora- 
ble account by Hippolytus of Pope Zephyrinus and Pope Cal- 
listus, we have no express and direct information about the 
internal state of the Roman church. But incidentally it is 
more frequently mentioned than any other. Owing to its 
metropolitan position, it. naturally grew in importance and 
influence with the spread of the Christian religion in the em- 
pire. Rome was the battle-field of orthodoxy and heresy, and 
a resort of all sects and parties. It attracted from every 
direction what was true and false in philosophy and religion. 
Ignatius rejoiced in the prospect of suffering for Christ in the 
centre of the world; Polycarp repaired hither to settle with 
Anicetus the paschal controversy; Justin Martyr presented there 
his defense of Christianity to the emperors, and kid down for 
it his life ; Irenseus, Tertullian, and Cyprian conceded to that 
church a position of singular pre-eminence. Eome was equally 
sought as a commanding position by heretics and theosophic 
jugglers, as Simon Magus, Valentine, Marcion, Cerdo, and a 
host of others. No wonder, then, that the bishops of Rome 
at an early date were looked upon as metropolitan pastors, and 
spoke and acted accordingly with an air of authority which 
reached far beyond their immediate diocese. 

Clement of Rome. 

The first example of the exercise of a sort of papal authority 
is found towards the close of the first century in the letter of 
the Eoman bishop Clement (d. 102) to the bereaved and dis- 
tracted church of Corinth. This epistle, full of beautiful ex- 
hortations to harmony, love, and humility, was sent, as the very 
address shows, 1 not in the bishop's own name, which is not 

1 'H SKKtycia TOV &eov, % irapoiKOwa 'Pety^ rf eia&ijafy rcm foou, rf 
K6pw&ov. " The church of God which sojourns at Rome to the church of God 
which sojourns at Corinth." TLdpoiKo? is a temporary, K&TOLKOC a permanent, 
resident The Christians appear here as strangers and pilgrims in this world, 
*Jio have their home in heaven ; comp. 1 Pet. 1 : 17 ; 2 : 11 ; Eeb. 11 : IS 

158 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

mentioned at all, but in that of the Eoman congregation, 
which speaks always in the first person plural. It was a 
service of love, proffered by one church to another in time of 
need. Similar letters of instruction, warning and comfort were 
written to other congregations by Ignatius, Poly carp, Dionysius 
of Corinth, Irenseus. Nevertheless it can hardly be denied that 
the document reveals the sense of a certain superiority over al] 
ordinary congregations. The Roman church here, without being 
asked (as far as appears), gives advice, with superior administra- 
tive wisdom, to an important church in the East, dispatches 
messengers to her, and exhorts her to order and unity in a tone 
of calm dignity and authority, as the organ of God and the Holy 
Spirit. 1 This is all the more surprising if St. John, as is 
probable, was then still living in Ephesus, which was nearer to 
Corinth than Rome. The hierarchical spirit arose from the 
domineering spirit of the Roman church, rather than the 
Roman bishop or the presbyters who were simply the organs 
of the people. 2 But a century later the bishop of Rome was 
substituted for the church of Rome, when Victor in his own 
name excommunicated the churches of Asia Minor for a trifling 
difference of ritual. From this hierarchical assumption there 
was only one step towards the papal absolutism of a Leo and 
Hildebrand, and this found its ultimate doctrinal climax in the 
Vatican dogma of papal infallibility. 

Ignatius', in his Epistle to the Romans (even in the Syriac 
recension), applies to that congregation a number of high-sound- 
ing titles, and describes her as " presiding in the place of the 

1 This is very evidant towards the close from the newly discovered portions, 
chs. 59, 62 and 63 (edition of Bryennios, Const. 1875).* These chapters shed 
new light on the origin of the papal domination. Comp. the judicious remarks 
of Lightfoot in his Appendix to Clement of Rome (Lond. 1877), p. 252 sqq. 

y It is quite evident from the Epistle itself that at that time the Roman con- 
gregation was still governed by a college of presbyters (collegiatisch, nickt 
monarchisch, as Langen, L c. p. 81, expresses it), 


region of the Bomans," and as " taking the lead in charity." J This 
is meant as a commendation of her practical benevolence for which 
she was famous. Dionysius of Corinth in his letter to Soter of 
Rome, testifies to it as saying ; " This practice has prevailed with 
you from the very beginning, to do good to all the brethren in 
every way, and to send contributions to many churches in every 
city." 2 The Eoman church was no doubt more wealthy than 
any other, and the liberal use of her means must have greatly 
increased her influence. Beyond this, Ignatius cannot be quoted 
as a witness for papal claims. He says not a word of the 
primary, nor does he even mention Clement or any other 
bishop of Kome. The church alone is addressed throughout. 
He still had a lively sense of the difference between a bishop 
and an apostle. " I do not command you," he writes to the * 
Romans, "as if I were Peter or Paul; they were apostles." 


Irenseus calls Rome the greatest, the oldest (?) church, acknow- 
ledged by all, founded by the two most illustrious apostles, Peter 
and Paul, the church, with which, on account of her more im- 
portant precedence, all Christendom must agree, or (according to 
another interpretation) to which (as the metropolis of the world) 
all other churches must resort. 3 The "more important pre- 

f aydini?, prcesid&ns in caritate. Inscription. Zahn in his 
ed., p. 75, says : " In caritatis operibus semper primum locum sibi vindicavit ecclesia 
Ewwna? Some Roman Catholic writers (as Mohler, Patrol L 144) explain 
the phrase very artificially and hierarchically : " head of the love-union of 
Christendom ( Vorsteherin des Liebesbundes)" Agape never means church, but 
either love, or love-feast. See Langen, 1. c. p. 94. 

. Euseb., Hist. EccL IV. 23, 10: % apxw vfuv &os tori TOVTO, irdvra? ptv 
EiiepyereZv, eKKhqniaiG re iroWuug raZf pard. icaoav irdfav e<j>66ta 

3 The famous passage, Adv. Hacr. iii. \ 2, is only extant in Latin, and of 
disputed interpretation : "Ad hane emm eedesiam propter potentiorem (according 
to Massuet's conjecture: potiorem) principalitatem necesse est omnem. convenire 
gccZesiam, hoc est, eos qui sunt undiqwe fideles, in qua semper ab k is, qui sunt 
undique, conservafa est ab apostolis traditio." In the original Greek it probably 
read : TLp6c TaLrrjv yao rty> SKK^ffiav 6ia T%V iKavuriflav xpurelav ovuftaivew (or. 
in the local sense, avvtyxeoBat) del (according to others: niwy/cy, natural necea- 
aity} naffav TT)V kKjOtfjalav, etc. The stress lies on princiyalitas, which stand? 

160 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

cedence" places her above the other apostolic churches, to 
which likewise a precedence is allowed. 

This is surely to be understood, however, as a precedence only 
of honor, not of jurisdiction. Eor when Pope Victor, about the 
year 190, in hierarchical arrogance and intolerance, broke fellow- 
ship with the churches of Asia Minor, for no other reason but 
because they adhered to their tradition concerning the celebration 
of Easter, the same Irenseus, though agreeing with him on the 
disputed point itself, rebuked him very emphatically as a trou- 
bier of the peace of the church, and declared himself against & 
forced uniformity in such unessential matters. Nor did the 
Asiatic churches allow themselves to be intimidated by the dicta- 
tion of Victor, They answered the Roman tradition with that 
of their own sedes apostolieae. The difference continued until the 
council at Nicsea at last settled the controversy in favor of Ihe 
Roman practice, but even long afterwards the old Brithli 
churches differed from the Roman practice in the Easter 
observance to the time of Gregory I. 


The celebrated Hippolytus, in the beginning of the third 
century, was a decided antagonist of the Roman bishops, Zephy- 
rinus and Callistus, both for doctrinal and disciplinary reasons. 
Nevertheless we learn 'from his work called Philosophumena, 
that at that time the Roman bishop already claimed an absolute 

probably for Kpursia (so Thierscb and Gieseler). Comp. Iren. IV. 38, 3, where 
irpuTsbsi is rendered prindpalitatem habet. Stieren and Ziegler ( Irenceus, 1871, p. 
152), however, translate propter potentiorem prindpalitatem : ct& rfiv Imvuripav 
apxaidTTjTa, "on account of the higher antiquity?' Comp. on the whole passage 
an essay by Thiersch in the "Studien und Kritiken" 1842, 512 pqq.; Gieseler 
1. 1. p 214 (\ 51) ; Schneemann : Sancti Irenosi de ecclesice Romance principal 
testimonium commentatum et defen&um, Freiburg i. B. 1870, and Langen, I c. p. 
170 sqq Langen (who is an Old Catholic of the Dollinger school) explains : 
"Die potior principalitas bezeichnet den Voirang, welchen ctieKirche der Hauptstad! 
als solche vor alien ubrigen Kirchen besass .... die Haupstadt war das Centrum 
des dam&ligen Weltverkehrs, wid in Folge dessen der Sammelplatz von Christen 
viler Art" He defends the local sense of convenire by parallel passages from 
Herveus of Bordeaux and Hugo Eterianus (p. 172 sq.). But the moral sense 
(fp agree) seems more natujpal. 


power within his own jurisdiction ; and that Callistus, to the 
great grief of part of the presbytery, laid down the principle, 
that a bishop can never be deposed or compelled to resign by the 
presbytery, even thongh he have committed a mortal sin. 


Tertullian points the heretics to the apostolic mother churches, 
as the chief repositories of pure doctrine; and among these gives 
especial prominence to that of Rome, where Peter was crucified, 
Paul beheaded, and John immersed unhurt in boiling oil (?) and 
then banished to the island. Yet the same father became after- 
wards an opponent of Rome. He attacked its loose penitential 
discipline, and called the Roman bishop (probably Zephyrinus), 
in irony and mockery, "pontifeos maximum" and st episcopm 


Cyprian is clearest, both in his advocacy of the fundamental 
idea of the papacy, and in his protest against the mode of its 
application in a given case. Starting from the superiority of 
Peter, upon whom the Lord built his church, and to whom he 
intrusted the feeding of his sheep, in order to" represent thereby 
the unity in the college of the apostles, Cyprian transferred 
the same superiority to the Bishop of Rome, as the successor of 
Peter, and accordingly called the Roman church the chair of 
Peter, and the fountain of priestly unity, 1 the root, also, and 
mother of the catholic church. 2 But on the other side, he asserts 
with equal energy the equality and relative independence of 
the bishops, as successors of the apostles, who had all an equally 
direct appointment from Christ. In his correspondence he uni- 
formly addresses the Roman bishop as " brother" and "col* 
league," conscious of his own equal dignity and authority. And 

1 Pefri cathedra, atque eedesiam principalem, wide unites sacerdotalis exorta est. 
Epkt. lv. c. 19 (ed. Bal.) Ad Carndium epixs. Rom. In Goldhorn's ed., Ep. lix. 

1 Ecdesiae cathoKcae radieem, et merfrwem. Ep. 1. 2 ed. Bal. (xlyiii. ed. 
Goldh.). Other passages in Cyrian favorable to the Eoman see are either in- 
terpolations or corruptions in the interest of the papacy. 
Vol. II. 1J- 

162 SECOND PEEIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

in the controversy about heretical baptism, he opposes Pope Ste- 
phen with almost Protestant independence, accusing him of erroi 
and abuse of his power, and calling a tradition without truth an 
old error. Of this protest he never retracted a word. 


Still more sharp and unsparing was the Cappadocian bishop, 
Firmilian, a disciple of Origen, on the bishop of Rome, while 
likewise implying a certain acknowledgment of his primacy. 
Firmilian charges him with folly, and with acting unworthily of 
his position ; because, as the successor of Peter, he ought rather 
to further the unity of the church than to destroy it, and ought 
to abide on the rock foundation instead of laying a new one by 
recognising heretical baptism. Perhaps the bitterness of Firmi- 
lian was due partly to his friendship and veneration for Origen, 
who had been condemned by a council at Rome. 

Nevertheless, on this question of baptism, also, as on those of 
Easteiy-and^of, penance, the Roman church came out victorious 
in the end. 

Comparative Insignificance of the first Popes. 

From these testimonies it is clear, that the growing influence of 
the Roman see was rooted in public opinion and in. the need of 
unity in the ancient church. It is not to be explained at all by 
the talents and the ambition of the incumbents. On the contrary, 
the personality of the thirty popes of the first three centuries falls 
quite remarkably into the background; though they are all 
canonized saints, and, according to a later but extremely doubtful 
tradition, were also, with two exceptions, martyrs. 1 Among them, 
and it maj be said down to Leo the Great, about the middle of 
the fifth century, there was hardly one, perhaps Clement, who 

1 Irenaeus recognizes among the Boman bishops from Clement to Eleuthems 
(177), all of whom he mentions by name, only <me martyr, to wit, Telesphorus, 
of whom he says: "Of KCU tvMgw tyaprbpyae, Adv. Ha&r. III., c. 3, 3. So 
Euaebius, H. E. V. 6. From this we may judge of the value of the Roman 
Catholic tradition on this point. R is so remote from the time in question a& 
to be utterly unworthy of credit 


could compare, as a church leader, with an Ignatius, a Cyprian, 
and an Ambrose; or, as a theologian, with an Irenseus, a Ter- 
tullian, an Athanasius, and an Augustin.- Jerome, among 
his hundred and thirty-six church celebrities, of the first four 
centuries, brings in only four Roman bishops, Clement, Victor, 
Cornelius, and Damasus, and even these wrote only a few epis- 
tles. Hippolytus, in his Philosophumena, written about 225, 
even presents two contemporaneous popes, St. Zephyrinus 
(202-218) and Callistus (St. Calixtus L, 218-223), from his own 
observation, though not without partisan feeling, in a most un- 
favorable light ; charging the first with ignorance and avarice, 2 
the second with scandalous conduct (he is said to have been 
once a swindler and a fugitive slave rescued from suicide), and 
both of them with the Patripassian heresy. Such charges could 
not have been mere fabrications with so honorable an author as 
Hippolytus, even though he was a schismatic rival bishop to 
Callistus ; they must have had at least some basis of feet 

51. Chronology of the Popes. 

The principal sources for the obscure chronology of the early hishops 
of Eome are the catalogues of popes. These are divided into 
two classes, the oriental or Greek, and the occidental or Latin. 
To the first belong the lists of Hegesippus and Irenseus, from the 
second century, that of Eusebius (in his Chronide, and his Church 
History), and his successors from the fourth century and later. This 
class is followed by Lipsius and HarnacL The second class em* 
braces the catalogues of Augustin (Ep. 55, al. 165), Optatns of Mileve 
(De schism. Donat. II. 3), the "Catalogus Liberianus" (coming 
down to Liberius, 354), the "Catalogus Felicianus" (to 530), the 

1 Cardinal Newman says (Apologia, p. 407; : " The see of Eome possessed no 
great mind in the whole period of persecution. Afterwards for a long time it 
had not a single doctor to show. The great luminary of the western world is 
St. Augustin ; he, no infallible teacher, has formed the intellect of Europe." 
Dean Stanley remarks (Christian Institutions, p. 241) : " There have been occu- 
pants of the sees of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Canterbury, who have 
produced more effect on the mind of Christendom by their utterances than 
any of the popes.'' 

* He calls him in the ninth book of the Philosophumena an farfp MI&TIK JOB 

164 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

"Catalogus Cononianus," based perhaps on the "Catalogus Leoninus * 
(to 440), the "Liber Pontificalia" (formerly supposed to be based 
on the preceding catalogues, but according to the Abbe Duchesne 
and Waitz, older than the "Liber Felicianus"). The "Liber 
Pontif " itself exists in different MSS., and has undergone many 
changes. It is variously dated from the fifth or seventh century. 

To these may be added the " Martyrologia " and " Calendaria " of 
the Boman Church, especially the "Martyrologium Hieronymia- 
nnm," and the " Martyrologium Eomanum. parvum" (both of the 
seventh or eighth century). 

The inscriptions on the papal tombs discovered in Rome since 
I860, contain names and titles, but no dates. 

On the " Catalogus Liberianus/ 7 see especially the critical essay of 
Mommsen " Ueber den Chronographen des Jahres 354," in the 
"Transactions of the Royal Saxon Society of Sciences/' Philos. 
histor. Section, vol. L (1850), p. 631 sqq. The text of the Catalogue 
is given, p. 634r-'37, and by Lipsius, Chronologie der ram. Bischofe, 
Append, p. 265-268. The oldest MSS. of the "Liber Pontificalia" 
date from the seventh and eighth centuries, and present a text of 
A. D. 641, but with many variations. " Hit wahrer Sicherheit, 1 ' says 
Waitz, u gelangen wir in der Geschichte des Papsthums nicht uber 
das lie Jahrhundert hinauf" 


PHIL. JAFFE: Eegesta Pontificwm, Romanorum db condita eccksia ad ann. 
1198. Berolini 1851, ed. secunda correcta et aucta auspiciis GTJL. 
WATTENBACH. Lips. 1881 sqq. Continued by POTTHAST from 
1198-1304, and supplemented by HARTTUNG (BcLI. A. P. 748-1198, 
Gotha 1880). 

R. A. LlPsms : ChronoZogie der rom. Bischofe lis zur Mtte des 4t&n Jahrh. 
Kiel, 1869. Comp. HOET'S review of this book in the " Academy" 
for Sept. 15, 1871. LIPSIUS : Neue Studien zur Papstchronologie, 
in the " Jahrbucher for Protest. Theol." Leipz. 1880 (pp. 78-126 
and 233-307). Lipsius denies that Peter ever was at Rome. 

ABBE L. DUCHESNE : Etude mr le Liber Pontificalis. Paris, 1887. La 
date et les recensions du Liber Pontifiealis. 1879. Le Liber Pontifi- 
calis. Texte, introduction et commentaire. Paris, 1884 and 1889, 2 
vok 4 (with fac similes). 

ADOLF HARNACK : Die Zdt des Ignatius und die Chronologie der antioch- 
enischen Bischofe bis Fyrannus. Leipz. 1878 (p. 73). 

G-. WAITZ : Ueber die verschiedenen Texte des Liber PontiftcaliSj in the 
" Archiv der Gesellschaft fur altere deutsche Geschichtskunde," IV; 
and his review of Duchesne, and Lipsius, in H. v. Sybel's "Histor. 
Zeitschrift" for 1880, p. 135 sqq. 

The oldest links in the chain of Roman bishops are veiled in 


impenetrable darkness. Tertullian and most of the Latins (and 
the pseudo-Clementina), make Clement (Phil. 4 : 3), the first 
successor of Peter; 1 but Irenaeus, Eusebius, and other Greeks, 
also Jerome and the Roman Catalogue, give him the third 
place, and put Linus (2 Tim. 4 : 21), and Anacletus (or Anin- 
cletus), between him and Peter. 2 In some lists Cletus is substi- 
tuted for Anacletus, in others the two are distinguished. Per- 
haps Linus and Anacletus acted during the life time of Paul and 
Peter as assistants, or presided only over one part of the 
church, while Clement may have had charge of another branch; 
for at that early day, the government of the congregation com- 
posed of Jewish and Gentile Christian elements was not so cen- 
tralized as it afterwards became. Furthermore, the earliest 
fathers, with a true sense of the distinction between the apostolic 
and episcopal offices, do not reckon Peter among the bishops of 
Borne at all ; and the Roman Catalogue in placing Peter in the 
line of bishops, is strangely regardless of Paul, whose indepen- 
dent labors in 'Borne are attested not only by tradition, but by 
the clear witness of his own epistles and the book of Acts. 

Lipsius, after a laborious critical comparison of the different 
catalogues of popes, arrives at the conclusion that Linus, Ana- 
cletus, and Clement were Boman presbyters (or presbyter-bishops 
in the N. T. sense of the term), at the close of the first century, 
Evaristus and Alexander presbyters at the beginning of the 
second, Xystus I. (Latinized: Sixtus), presbyter for ten years 

1 Or at least the first appointed by Peter. Tertullian De Praescr. Hcer. c. 32 
* { Romanorum dementem a Petro ordinafoim'' TheApost. OonsL VH. 6 make 
Linus (comp. 2 Tim. 4 : 21) the first bishop, appointed by Paul, Clement the 
next, appointed by Peter. According to Epiphanius (J2cer. XXVII. 6) Clement 
was ordained by Peter, but did not enter upon his ofiice till after the death of 
Linus and Anacletus. 

* The catalogue of Irenseus (Adv. Hoer. HL 3, 3) down to his own time (A. D. 
177) is this : The apostles Peter and Paul, Linos, Anadetos, Clement, Evaristus, 
Alexander, Xystos, Telesphoros, who died gloriously as a martyr, Hyginos, 
Kos, Aniketos, Soter, Eleutheros, who then held "the inheritance of the epis- 
copate in the twelfth place from the apostles/ 7 Irenaeus adds : "In this order, 
and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles and th* 
preaching of the truth have come down to us." 


SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

till about 128, Telesphorus for eleven years, till about 139, and 
his next successors diocesan bishops. 1 

It must in justice be admitted, however, that the list of 
Roman bishops has by far the preeminence in age, completeness, 
integrity of succession, consistency of doctrine and policy, above 
every similar catalogue, not excepting those of Jerusalem, An- 
fcioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople; and this must carry great 
weight with those who ground their views chiefly on external 
testimonies, without being able to rise to the free Protestant con- 
ception of Christianiiy and its history of development on earth. 

51. List of the Roman Bishops and Roman JEmperors during 
the First Three Centuries. 

From the lists of Eusebius (till Silvester), Jafifc (Regesta\ 
Potthast (Bibliotheca Hist. Medii Aewi) 9 Lipsius and others 
compared. See a continuation of the list in my History of 
Mediceval Christianity, p. 205 


? 42- 67 Petrus-Apostolus. 8 

? 67- 79 Linus-Presbyter. 

? 79- 91 Cletus or Anacletus. 
? 91-100 Clemens I. 

? 100-109 Evaristus. 

? 109-119 Alexander! 

? 113-128 Xystus or Sixtus I 

? 128-139 Telesphorus (Martyr). 









Vitellius, , 






Antoninus Pius, 

ba, ) 
o, \ 
illius, ) 

B. C. 


AJX 14-37 





1 Langen (I c. p. 100 sqq.) carries the line of Boman presbyter-bishops down 
to Alexander, and dates the monarchical constitution of the Roman church 
(". e. the diocesan episcopacy) from the age of Trajan or Hadrian. Irenams 
(in Euseb. V-27) calls the Roman bishops down to Anicetus (354) Trpea/Sircpou 

* The best historians agree that Peter cannot have been in Borne before A. B 
63, and that the Roman tradition of a twenty-five years' episcopate is a 'iable. 


A. P. 


? 139-142 Hyginus. 
? 142-154 Pius I. 
? 154-168 Anicetus. 
? 168-176 Soter. 
? 177-190 Eleutherus. 
? 190-202 Victor L 

202-218 Zephyrmus. 

218-223 Callistus, or Calixtus I. 

(Hippoly tus, Antipope). 
7223-230 Urbanusl. 
? 230-235 Pontianus (resigned in 


235-236 Anterus. 
236-250 Fabianus, Martyr. 

250-251 The See vacant till March 


? 251-252 Cornelius (in exile). 
} 251 (Novatianus, Antipope). 

252-253 Lucius L 
? 253-257 StephanusL 

? 257-258 Xystus (Sixtus) IL 
^llS } The See vacant 

259-269 Dionysius. 

269-274 Felix I. 

275-283 Eutychianus. 

283-296 Gajus (Cains). 

296-304 Marcellinus. 
304-307 The See vacant. 

308-309 Marcellus, 
?309-310 Eusebius, d. Sept 26 (?) 

309-310 The See vacant. 
311-314 Miltiades (Melchiades) 
314r-335 Silvester I. 

EMPERORS* 6* 0. 

Marcus Aurehus, 161-180 

Commodus, 180-190 

Pertinax, 190-191 

Didius Julianus, 191-192 

Niger, 192-193 

Septimius Severus, 193-211 

Caracalla, \ on 917 

Geta(d.212), j 211-217 

M. Opilius Macrinus, 217-218 

Heliogabalus, 21&-222 

AJexander'Severus, 222-235 

MaximinL (theThracian), 
The two Gordians, 1 
Maximus Pupienus, y 
Balbinus, ) 

Gordian the Younger, 



Claudius IL 


Tacitus, . 



Carinus, } 

Numerian, ) 

Diocletian (d. 313), 

Maximian, joint Emp. ) 

with Diocletian, j 
Constantius (d. 306),") 
Galerius (d. Sll), V 
Licinius (d. 328), - j 
Maximin II. (Daza), 
Constantine the Great, 
Galerius (d. 311), 
Licinius (d. 323), 
Maximin (d. 313), 
Maxentius (d. 312), 

reigning jointly. 

Constantine the Great, 
<*ole ruler. 










168 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

The whole number of popes, from the Apostle Peter to Leo 
XIII. (1878) is two hundred and sixty-three. This would 
allow about seven years on an average to each papal reign. The 
traditional twenty-five years of Peter were considered the maxi- 
mum which none of his successors was permitted to reach, except 
Pius IX., the first infallible pope/ who reigned twenty-seven 
years (1846-1878). The average term of office of the arch- 
bishops of Canterbury is fourteen years. 

53. The Catholic Unity. 

J. A. M5HLEE (R. 0.): Die Einheit der Kirche oder das Prineip de* 

Katholictemua. Tubingen 1825. Full of Catholic enthusiasm for 

the unity of the church. 
B. EOTHE: Die Anfange der christl. Kirche. Wittenb.1837 (pp. 553- 

711), A Protestant counterpart of Mohler's book. 
HTJTHEB: Cyprian's Lehre von der Mnheit der Kirche. Hamb. 1839. 
J. W. NEYIN: Cyprian; four articles in the "Mercershurg Review," 

1852. Comp. VABIEN'S strictures on these articles in the same 

"Beview" for 1853, p. 555 sqq. 
JOH. *PETEES (Ultramontane) : Die Lehre des heil. Cyprian von der 

Eiriheit der Kirche gegenuber den beiden Schismen in Carthago und 

Rom. Luxemh. 1870. 
Jos. H. BEINKESTS (Old Oath. Bishop) : Die Lehre des heil. Cyprian von 

der Einhett der Kirche. Wurzburg, 1873. 
Comp. also HABTEi/sed. of Cyprian's Opera (3 Parts, Vienna, 1868-71), 

and the monographs on Cyprian by BETTBEEG (1831), PETERS 

(1877), FECHTRUP (1878), and 0. KETSCHL (1883). 

On the basis of Paul's idea of the unity, holiness, and univer- 
sality of the church, as the mystical body of Christ ; hand in 
hand with the episcopal system of government; in the form 
of fad; rather than of dogma; and in perpetual conflict with 
heathen persecution from without, and heretical and schismatic 
tendencies within arose the idea and the institution of " the 
Holy Gatholie Ghwnh? as the Apostles' Creed has it; 1 or, in 

1 The Church of England retained the term "catholic" in the Creed, and 
the ante-papal and anti-papal use of this term (= general, universal) j while 
Luther in his Catechism, and the Moravian church (in her liturgy) substituted 
the word "Christian,'' and surrendered the use of "catholic" to the Roman 
Catholics. "Roman" is a sectarian term (in opposition to Greek Catholic 
and Evangelical Catholic). 


the fuller language of the Mcene-Constantinopolitan, " the On* 
Holy Catholic Apostolic Church" In both the oecumenical sym- 
bols, as even in the more indefinite creeds of the second and 
third centuries, on which those symbols are based, the church 
appears as an article of faith, 1 presupposing and necessarily 
following faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; 
and as a holy fellowship, 2 within which the various benefits of 
grace, from the forgiveness of sins to the life everlasting, are 

Nor is any distinction made here between a visible and an 
invisible church. All catholic antiquity thought of none but 
the actual, historical church, and without hesitation applied to 
this, while yet in the eyes of the world a small, persecuted sect, 
those four predicates of unity, holiness, universality, and apos- 
tolicity, to which were afterwards added exclusiveness, infalli- 
bility and indestructibility. There sometimes occur, indeed, 
particularly in the Novatian schism, hints of the incongruity 
between the empirical reality and the ideal conception of the 
church; and this incongruity became still more palpable, in 
regard to the predicate of holiness, after the abatement of the 
spiritual elevation of the apostolic age, the cessation of persecu- 
tion, and the decay of discipline. But the unworthiness of 
individual members and the external servant-form of the church 
were not allowed to mislead as to the general objective charac- 
ter, which belonged to her in virtue of her union with her 
glorious heavenly Head. 

The fathers of our period all saw in the church, though with 
different degrees of clearness, a divine, supernatural order of 
things, in a certain sense the continuation of the life of Christ 
on earth, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the sole repository of 
the powers of divine life, the possessor and interpreter of the 
Holy Scriptures, the mother of all the faithful. She is holy 

1 Oredo ecd&iam; yet not in (elf) ecdesfam, as in the case of the Divine 

* Ommunio sanctorum. This clause, however, is not found in the original 
Creed of the Roman church before the fifth century. 

170 SECOND PEJEUOD. A. D. 100-311. 

because she is separated from the service of the profane world, 
is animated by the Holy Spirit; forms her members to holiness, 
and exercises strict discipline. She is catholic, that is (according 
to the precise sense of fl/uc, which denotes not so much numerical 
totality as wholeness), complete, and alone true, in distinction 
fronj all parties and sects. Catholicity, strictly taken, includes 
the three marks of universality, unity, and exclusiveness, and 
is an essential property of the church as the body and organ of 
Christ, who is, in fact, the only Redeemer for all men. Equally 
inseparable from her is the predicate of apostolicity, that is, the 
historical continuity or unbroken succession, which reaches back 
through the bishops to the apostles, from the apostles to Christ, 
and from Christ to God. In the view of the fathers, every 
theoretical departure from this empirical, tangible, catholic 
church is heresy, that is, arbitrary, subjective, ever changing 
human opinion; every practical departure, all disobedience to 
her rulers is schism, or dismemberment of the body of Christ; 
either is rebellion against divine authority, and a heinous, if 
not the most heinous, sin. No heresy can reach the conception 
of the church, or rightly claim any one of her predicates; it 
forms at best a sect or party, and consequently falls within the 
province aud the fate of human and perishing things, while the 
church is divine and indestructible. 

This is without doubt the view of the ante-Nicene fathers, 
even of the speculative and spiritualistic Alexandrians. The 
most important personages in the development of the doctrine 
concerning the church are, again, Ignatius, Irenseus, and Cyp- 
rian. Their whole doctrine of the episcopate is intimately 
connected with their doctrine of the catholic uniiy, and deter- 
mined by it. For the episcopate is of value in their eyes only 
as the indispensable means of maintaining and promoting this 
unity : while they are compelled to regard the bishops of heretics 
and schismatics as rebels and antichrists. 

1. In the Epistles of IGNATIUS the unity of the church, in 
the form and through the medium of the episcopate, is the 
fundamental thought and the leading topic of exhortation. The 


author calls himself a man prepared for union. 1 He also is the 
first to use the term " catholic " in the ecclesiastical sense, when 
he says : 2 " Where Christ Jesus is, there is the catholic church;" 
that is, the closely united and full totality of his people. Only 
in her, according to his view, can we eat the bread of God ; he, 
who follows a schismatic, inherits not the kingdom of God. 3 

We meet similar views, although not so clearly and strongly 
stated, in the Roman Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians, 
in the letter of the church of Smyrna on the martyrdom of 
Polycarp, and in the Shepherd of Hernias. 

2 iREN-aaus speaks much more at large respecting the 
church. He calls her the haven of rescue, the way of salvation, 
the entrance to life, the paradise in this world, of whose trees, 
to wit, the holy Scriptures, we may eat, excepting the tree of 
knowledge of good and evil, which he takes as a type of heresy. 
The church is inseparable from the Holy Spirit ; it is his home, 
and indeed his only dwelling-place on earth. " WTiere the 
church is," says he, putting the church first, in the genuine 
catholic spirit, " there is the Spirit of God, and where the Spirit 
of God is there is all grace." 4 Only on the bosom of the 
church, continues he, can we be nursed to life. To her must we 
flee, to be made partakers of the Holy Spirit ; separation from 
her is separation from the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Here- 
tics, in his view, are enemies of the truth and sons of Satan, and 
will be swallowed up by hell, like the company of Koran, 
Dathan, and Abirarn. Characteristic in this respect is the well- 
known legend, which he relates, about the meeting of the apostk 
John with the Gnostic Cerinthus, and of Polycarp with Marcion, 
the " first-born of Satan." 

3. TERTULLIAN is the first to make that comparison of the 
church with Noah's ark, which has since become classical in 

elg bwatv KarypTLafiivov* * Ad Smyrn. c. 8. 

* Ad Ephes. c. 5. Ad 'Troll, c. 7. Ad Philad. c 3, etc. 

4 Adv. Hcer. iii. 24. "Ubi ecdesia ibi et Spiritus Dei, et vbi Spiritus Dei, itf* 
ecd&da et omnis gratia" Protestantism would say, conversely, putting th 
Spirit first : " Ubi Spiritus Dei, ibi ecdesia et minis gratia." 

172 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Roman catholic theology; and he likewise attributes heresies to 
the devil, without any qualification. But as to schism, he was 
himself guilty of it since he joined the Montanists and bitterly 
opposed the Catholics in questions of discipline. He has there- 
fore no place in the Roman Catholic list of the patres, but 
simply of the scriptores ecclesice. 

4. Even CLEMENT of Alexandria, and ORIGEN, with all 
their spiritualistic and idealizing turn of mind, are no exception 
here. The latter, in the words: "Out of the church no man 
can be saved/' 1 brings out the principle of the catholic exclu- 
siveness as unequivocally as Cyprian. Yet we find in him, 
together with very severe judgments of heretics, mild and tolerant 
expressions also; and he even supposes, on the ground of Rom 
2 : 6 sqq., that in the future life honest Jews and heathens will 
attain a suitable reward, a low grade of blessedness, though ^iot 
the "life everlasting" in the proper sense. In a later age he 
was himself condemned as a heretic. 

Of other Greek divines of the third century, Methodius in 
particular, an opponent of Origen, takes high views of the 
church, and in his Symposion poetically describes it as "the 
garden of God in the beauty of eternal spring, shining in the 
richest splendor of immortalizing fruits and flowers;" as the 
virginal, unspotted, ever young and beautiful royal bride of the 
divine Logos. 

5. Finally, CYPBIA^, in his Epistles, and most of all in his 
classical tract : De Unitate Ecdesue, written in the year 251, 
amidst the distractions of the N ovatian schism, and not without 
an intermixture of hierarchical pride and party spirit, has most 
distinctly and most forcibly developed the old catholic doctrine 
of the church, her unity, universality, and exclusiveness. He 
is the typical champion of visible, tangible church unity, and 
would have made a better pope than any pope before Leo I. ; 
yet after all he was anti-papal and anti-Boman when he differed 
from the pope. Augustin felt this inconsistency, and thought 

1 Horn. 3 in Josuam, c. 5. " Extra hanc domum, id est extra ecdemm > new 


that he had wiped it out by the blood of his martyrdom. But 
he never gave any sign of repentance. His views are briefly as 
follows : 

The Catholic church was founded from the first by Christ 
on St. Peter alone, that, with all the equality of power among 
the apostles, unity might still be kept prominent as essential to 
her being. She has ever since remained one, in unbroken epis- 
copal succession ; as there is only one sun, though his rays are 
everywhere diffused. Try once to separate the ray from the 
sun ; the unity of the light allows no division. Break the branch 
from the tree ; it can produce no fruit. Cut off the brook from 
the fountain; it dries up. Out of this empirical orthodox 
church, episcopally organized and centralized in Rome, Cyprian 
can imagine no Christianity at all ; l not only among the Gnostics 
and other radical heretics, but even among the Novations, who 
varied from the Catholics in no essential point of doctrine, and 
only elected an opposition bishop in the interest of their rigorous 
penitential discipline. Whoever separates himself from the 
catholic church is a foreigner, a profane person, an enemy, con- 
demns himself, and must be shunned. No one can have God for 
his father, who has not the church for his mother. 2 As well 
might one out of the ark of Noah have escaped the flood, as 
one out of the church be saved; 3 because she alone is tha 
bearer of the Holy Spirit and of all grace. 

In the controversy on heretical baptism, Cyprian carried out 
the principle of exclusiveness even more consistently than the 
Roman church. For he entirely rejected such baptism, while 
Stephen held it valid, and thus had to concede, in strict consis- 
tency, the possibility of regeneration, and hence of salvation, 
outside the Catholic church. Here is a point where even 
the Roman system, generally so consistent, has a loophole of 
liberality, and practically gives up her theoretical principle of 

1 " Christianus non est, qui in Christi e&desia non est." 

2 (t Habere non potest Deum pcrfrem, qm ecdesiam non habet matron." 

8 " Extra eccksiam nuUa solus.'' Yet lie nowhere says "extra ecd&iam Jffr 
manam nutta solus." 

174 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

exclusiveness. But in carrying out this principle, even in 
persistent opposition to the pope, in whom lie saw the successor 
of Peter and the visible centre of unity, Cyprian plainly denied 
the supremacy of Roman jurisdiction and the existence of an 
infallible tribunal for the settlement of doctrinal controversies, 
and protested against identifying the church in general with the 
church of Rome. And if he had the right of such protest in 
favor of strict exclusiveness, should not the Greek church, and 
above all the Evangelical, much rather have the right of protest 
against the Roman exelusiveness, and in favor of a more free 
and comprehensive conception of the church ? 

We may freely acknowledge the profound and beautiful truth 
at the bottom, of this old catholic doctrine of the church, and the 
historical importance of it for that period of persecution, as well 
as for the great missionary work among the barbarians of the 
middle ages ; but we cannot ignore the fact that the doctrine 
rested in part on a fallacy, which, in course of time, after the 
union of the church with the state, or, in other words, with the 
world, became more and more glaring, and provoked an internal 
protest of ever-growing force. It blindly identified the spiritual 
unity of the church with unity of organization, insisted on 
outward uniformity at the expense of free development, and 
confounded the faulty empirical church, or a temporary phase 
of the development of Christianity, with the ideal and eternal 
kingdom of Christ, which will not be perfect in its manifestation 
until the glorious second coming of its Head. The Scriptural 
principle: "Out of Christ there is no salvation," was con- 
tracted and restricted to the Cyprianic principle : " Out of the 
(visible) churoh there is no salvation f and from this there was 
only one step to the fundamental error of Romanism : " Out 
of the Roman Church there is no salvation." 

]STo effort after outward unity could prevent the distinction 
of an Oriental and Occidental church from showing itself at this 
early period, in language, customs, and theology; a distinc- 
tion which afterwards led to a schism to this day unhealed. 

It may well be questioned whether our Lord intended an 

2 54. COUNCILS. 175 

outward visible unity of the church in the present order of 
things. He promised that there should be "one flock, one 
shepherd/' but not " one fold." 1 There may be one flock, and 
yet many folds or church organizations. In the sacerdotal 
prayer, our Lord says not one word about church, bishops or 
popes, but dwells upon that spiritual unity which reflects the 
harmony between the eternal Father and the eternal Son. "The 
true communion of Christian men ( the communion of saints * 
upon which all churches are built is not the common per- 
formance of external acts, but a communion of soul with sool 
and of the soul with Christ. It is a consequence of the nature 
which God has given us that an external organization should 
help our communion with one another : it is a consequence both 
of our twofold nature, and of Christ's appointment that external 
acts should help our communion with Him. But subtler, 
deeper, diviner than anything of which external things can be 
either the symbol or the bond is that inner reality and essence 
of union that interpenetrating community of thought and 
character which St. Paul speaks of as the ( unity of the Spirit/ 
and which in the sublimest of sublime books, in the most sacred 
words, is likened to the oneness of the Son with the Father and 
of the Father with the Son/' 2 

54. Councils. 

Best Collections of Acts of Councils by HABDUDT (1715, 12 yols.), and 

MASTSI (1759, 31 vols.). 
C. J. HEFELE (E. C. Bishop of Bottenburg, and member of the Vatican 

Council of 1870): Conciliengeschichte, Freiburg 1855; second ed. 

1873 sqq., 7 vols. down to the Council of Florence, A. D. 1447 (See vol. 

L, pp. 83-242). English translation by W. E. Claris and H. R. 

Oxenham (Edinb. 1871, 2d vol. 1876, 3d vol. 1883). 
E. B. PttSEY (d. 1882) : The Councils of the Church, from the Council of 

Jerusalem, A. D. 51, to the Council of Constantinople, A. D. 381; 

1 John 10: 16. It was a characteristic, we may say, an ominous mistake of 
the Latin Vulgate to render mipw by wile (confounding it with attj ). The 
Authorized Version has copied the mischievous blunder ("one fold"), but the 
Revision of 1881 has corrected it. 

2 Hatch, L c. p. 187 sq. 

176 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

chiefly as to their constitution, but also as to their object and history. 

Loud. 1857. 
A. W. DALE: The Synod of Elvira, [A. ]>. 306] and Christian Life in the 

Fourth Century. Lond. 1882. 
Comp. the article Council in SMITH and CHEETHAM and Lect. VII. in 

HATCH, Bampton Lect. on the Organization of the Early Christian 

Church. Lond. 1881, pp. 165 sqq. 

Councils or Synods were an important means of maintaining 
and promoting ecclesiastical unity, and deciding questions of 
faith and discipline. 1 They had a precedent and sanction in 
the apostolic Conference of Jerusalem for the settlement of the 
circumcision controversy. 3 They were suggested moreover by the 
deliberative political assemblies of the provinces of the Eoman 
empire, which met every year in the chief towns. 3 But we have 
no distinct trace of Councils before the middle of the second 
century (between 50 and 170), when they first appear, in the 
disputes concerning Montanism and Easter. 

There are several kinds of Synods according to their size, 


ARCHAL, and oEcmiENTCAi, (or UNIVERSAL). 4 Our period 
knows only the first three. Diocesan synods consist of the 

1 Cbnci7?ttm, first used in the ecclesiastical sense by Tertullian, De fejun. c. 13, 
De Pudic. c. 10; cirvofas, assembly, meeting for deliberation (Herodotus, 
Thucydides, Plato, Demosthenes, etc.), first used of Christian assemblies in the 
pseudo-Apostolical Gonstit. V. 20, and the Canons, c. 36 or 38. It may desig- 
nate a diocesan, or provincial, or general Christian convention for either elec- 
tive, or judicial, or legislative, or doctrinal purposes. 

1 A. D. 50. Acts 15 and G-al. 2. Comp. also the Lord's promise to be pre- 
sent where even the smallest number are assembled in his name, Matt 18: 19> 
20. See vol. I. 64, p. 503 sqq. 

* On the provincial councils of the Roman empire see Marquardt, Romische 
Starisverwdfang, I. 365-377, and Hatch, I c. p. 164 sqq. The deliberation* 
were preceded by a sacrifice, and the president was called highpriest. 

4 That is, within the limits of the old Roman empire, as the orbis terrarum. 
There never was an absolutely universal council. Even the seven (Ecumenical 
Councils from 325 to 787 were confined to the empire, and poorly attended by 
Western bishops. The Roman Councils held after that time (down to the 
Vatican Council in 1870) daim to be oecumenical, but exclude the Greek and 
all evangelical churches. 

J 54. COUNCILS. 177 

bishop and his presbyters and deacons with the people assisting, 
and were probably held from the beginning, but are not men- 
tioned before the third century. Provincial synods appear first 
in Greece, where the spirit of association had continued strong 
since the days of the Achaean 'league, and then in Asia Minor, 
North Africa, Gaul, and Spain. They were held, so far as the 
stormy times of persecution allowed, once or twice a year, in the 
metropolis, under the presidency of the metropolitan, who thus 
gradually acquired a supervision over the other bishops of the 
province. Special emergencies called out extraordinary sessions, 
and they, it seems, preceded the regular meetings. They were 
found to be useful, and hence became institutions. 

The synodical meetings were public, and the people of the 
community around sometimes made their influence felt. In the 
time of Cyprian, presbyters, confessors, and laymen took an 
active part, a custom which seems to have the sanction of apos- 
tolic practice. 1 At the Synod which met about 256, in the 
controversy on heretical baptism, there were present eighty- 
seven bishops, very many priests and deacons, and " maxima pars 
plebisj" 2 and in the synods concerning the restoration of the 
Lapsi, Cyprian convened besides the bishops, his clergy, the 
" confessores" and " laicos stantes " (i. e. in good standing). 3 ]$Tor 
was this practice confined to North Africa. We meet it in 
Syria, at the synods convened on account of Paul of Samosata 
(264-269), and in Spain at the council of Elvira. Origen, who 
was merely a presbyter, was the leading spirit of two Arabian 
synods, and convinced their bishop Beryllus of his Christological 

1 Comp. Acts 15: 6, 7, 12, 13, 23, where the " brethren" are mentioned ex- 
pressly, besides the apostles and elders, as members of the council, even at the 
final decision and in the pastoral letter. On the difference of reading, see vol. 
I. 505. 

3 Cyprian, Opera, p. 329, ed. Baluz. In the acts of this council, however 
(pp. 330-338), only the bishops appear as voters, from which some writers 
infer that the laity, and eve& the presbyters, had no votum decisivum. But in 
several old councils the presbyters and deacons subscribed their names after 
those of the bishops; see Harduin, (M. Ocmc. I. 250 and 266; Hefele L 19. 

* jEJjp. ad., xiii., Ixvi., Ixad. 
Vol. II. 12. 

|78 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

error. Even the Koman clergy, in their letter to Cyprian,i 
speak of a common synodical consultation of the bishops with the 
priests, deacons, confessors, arid laymen in good standing. 

But with the advance of the hierarchical spirit, this republican 
feature gradually vanished. After the council of Nicaea (325) 
bishops alone had seat and voice, and the priests appear here- 
after merely as secretaries, or advisers, or representatives of their 
bishops. The bishops, moreover, did not act as representatives 
of their churches, nor in the name of the body of the believers, 
as formerly, but in their own right as successors of the apostles. 
They did not as yet, however, in this period, claim infallibility 
for their decisions, unless we choose to find a slight approach to 
such a claim in the formula : " Placuit nobis, Sancto Spiritu 
suggerente" as used, for example, by the council of Carthage, in 
252. 2 At all events, their decrees at that time had only moral 
power, and could lay no claim to universal validity. Even 
-Cyprian emphatically asserts absolute independence for each 
bishop in his own diocese. " To each shepherd," he says, " a 
portion of the Lord's flock has been assigned, and his account 
must be rendered to his Master." 

The more important acts, such as electing bishops, excommu- 
nication, decision of controversies, were communicated to other 
provinces by epistolce synodioce. In the intercourse and the 
translation of individual members of churehes, letters of recom- 
mendation 3 from the bishop were commonly employed or 
required as terms of admission. Expulsion from one church 
was virtually an expulsion from all associated churches. 

The effect of the synodical system tended to consolidation. 
The Christian churches from independent communities held 
together by a spiritual fellowship of faith, became a powerful 

1 Cyprian, Ep. liy., on the ground of the Moe r$ fyfy irvebpaTi xat fyTv, 
erf Spirititi Sancto et nobis, Acts 15: 28. So also, the council of Aries, A. i>. 
314: JRfocttfc ergo, presents Spirit*. Sancto et angdis eftw (Harduin, OoU. OrncA 
I. 262). 

* Ifoittolae formafae, 


confederation, a compact moral commonwealth within the 
political organization of the Roman empire. 

As the episcopate culminated in the primacy, so the synodical 
system rose into the oecumenical councils, which represented the 
whole church of the Roman empire. But these could not be 
held till persecution ceased, and the emperor became the patron 
of Christianity. The first was the celebrated council of Xicsea, 
in the year 325. The state gave legal validity to the decrees 
of councils, and enforced them if necessary by all its means of 
coercion. But the Roman government protected only the 
Catholic or orthodox church, except during the progress of 
the Arian and other- controversies, before the final result was 
reached by the decision of an oecumenical Synod convened by 
the emperor, * 

55. The Councils of Elvira, Arks, and Aneyra. 

Among the ante-KTicene Synods some were occasioned by the 
Montanist controversy in Asia Minor, some by the Paschal 
controversies, some by the affairs of Origen, some by the Nova- 
tion schism and the treatment of the Lapsi in Carthage and 
Rome, some by the controversies on heretical baptism (255, 256), 
three were held against Paul of Samosata in Antioch (264-269). 

In the beginning of the fourth century three Synods, held 
at Elvira, Aries, and Ancyra, deserve special mention, as they 
approach the character of general councils and prepared the 
way for the first oecumenical council. They decided no doctrinal 
question, but passed important canons on church polity and 

1 This policy was inaugurated by Constantino I. A. B. 326 (Cod. TkewL 16, 
5. 1). He confined the privileges and immunities which, in 313, he had 
granted to Christiana in his later enactments to u QatholiccB legis obserratoribusJ" 
He ratified the Nicene creed and exiled Arius (325), although he afterwards 
wavered and was baptized by a semi-Arian bishop (337). His immediate 
successors wavered likewise. But as a rule the Byzantine emperors recognized 
the decisions of councils in dogma and discipline, and discouraged and ulti- 
mately prohibited the formation of dissenting sects. The state can, of course, 
not prevent dissent as an individual opinion j it can only prohibit and punish 
the oper profession. Full religious liberty requires separation of church and 

SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

Christian morals. They were convened for the purpo&e of 
restoring order and discipline after the ravages of the Diocletian 
persecution. They deal chiefly with the large class of the 
Lapsed, and reflect the transition state from the ante-Nicene 
to the iSTieene age. They are alike pervaded by the spirit of 
clericalism and a moderate asceticism. 

1. The Synod of ELVIRA (Illiberis, or Eliberis, probably on 
the site of the modern Granada) was held in 306/ and attended 
by nineteen bishops, and twenty-six presbyters, mostly from the 
Southern districts of Spain. Deacons and laymen were also 
present. The Diocletian persecution ceased in Spain after the 
abdication of Biocletian and Maximian Herculeus in 305; while 
it continued to rage for several years longer in the East under 
Galerius and Maximin. The Synod passed eighty-one Latin 
canons against various forms of heathen immorality then still 
abounding, and in favor of church discipline and austere morals. 
The Lapsed were forbidden the holy communion even in articulo 
mortis (can. 1). This is more severe than the action of the 
K"icene Synod. The thirty-sixth canon prohibits the admission 
of sacred pictures on the walls of the church buildings, 2 and has 
often been quoted by Protestants as an argument against image 
worship as idolatrous; while Roman Catholic writers explain it 
either as a prohibition of representations of the deity only, or aa 
a prudential measure against heathen desecration of holy things. 3 
Otherwise the Synod is thoroughly catholic in spirit and tone. 
Another characteristic feature is the severity against the Jews 

1 Hefele, Gams, and Bale decide in favor of this date against the superscrip- 
tion which puts it down to the period of the Council of Nicsea (324). The 
chief reason is that Hosins, bishop of Cordova, could not be present in 324 
when he was in the Orient, nor at any time after 307, when he joined the 
company of Constantine as one of his private councillors. 

" Placuti picture in ecdesia esse non debere, ne quod colitur et adoratur in 
pariettbus depingatur." "There shall be no pictures in the church, lest what 
is worshipped [saints] and adored [God and Christ] should be depicted on 
the walls." 

* The last is the interpretation of the canon by De Rossi, in Roma sotteranea, 
Tom. I, p, 97, and Hefele, 1. 170. But Dale (p. 292 sqq.) thinks that it wai 
timed against the idolatry of Christian?. 


who were numerous in Spain. Christians are forbidden to 
marry Jews. 1 

The leading genius of the Elvira Synod and the second in the 
list was Hosius, bishop of Corduba (Cordova), who also attended 
the Council of Nicsea as the chief representative of the TTest. 
He was a native of Cordova, the birth-place of Lucan and Seneca, 
and more than sixty years in the episcopate. Athanasius calls 
him a man holy in fact as well as in name, and speaks of his 
wisdom in guiding synods. As a far-seeing statesman, he seems 
to have conceived the idea of reconciling the empire with the 
church and influenced the mind of Constantine in that direction. 
He is one of the most prominent links between the age of perse- 
cution and the age of imperial Christianity. He was a strong 
defender of the JSTicene faith, but in his extreme old age he 
wavered and signed an Arian formula. Soon afterwards he 
died, a hundred years old (358). 

2. The first Council of ARLES in the South of France 3 was 
held A. D. 314, in consequence of an appeal of the Donatists to 
Constantine the Great, against the decision of a Eoman Council 
of 313, consisting of three Galilean and fifteen Italian bishops 
under the lead of Pope Melchiades. This is the first instance 
of an appeal of a Christian party to the secular power, and it 
turned out unfavorably to the Donatists who afterwards became 
enemies of the government. The Council of Aries was the first 
called by Constantine and the forerunner of the Council of 

1 The best accounts of the Synod of Elvira are given by Ferdinand de Men- 
doza, De <mfinwndo Concilia Illiberitano ad Qlementem VIIL, 1593 (reprinted, 
in Mansi II. 57-397) ; Fr. Ant. Gonzalez, Collect. Can. JScclesuB Hispanfa, Ma- 
drid, 1808, new ed. with Spanish version, 1849 (reprinted in Bruns, Bibl. Ecd. 
Tom. I. Pars II. 1 sqq.); Hefele, Concttiengesch. 1. 148-192 (second ed., 1873; 
or 122 sqq., first ed.); Gams, Kirchengesch. von Spanien (1864\ vol. II. 1-136; 
and Dale in his monograph on the Synod of Elvira, London, 188*2- 

2 Cbncttium Ardatense, from Arelate or Ardatum Sacfanorum, one of the chief 
Eoman cities in South-Eastern Gaul, where Constantine fct one time resided, 
and afterwards the West Gothic King Enrich. It was perhaps the seat of the 
first bishopric of Gaul, or second only to that of Lyons and Vienne. Several 
councils were held in that city, the second in 353 during the Arian contra 

182 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Nicsea. Augiistm calls it even universal, but It was only Wes- 
tern at best. It consisted of thirty-three bishops 1 from Gaul, 
Sicily, Italy (exclusive of the Pope Sylvester, who, 'however, 
was represented by two presbyters and .two deacons), North 
Africa, and Britain (three, from York, London, and probably 
from Cserleon on Usk), besides thirteen presbyters and twenty- 
three deacons. It excommunicated Donatus and passed twenty- 
two canons concerning Easter (which should be held on one and 
the same day), against the non-residence of clergy, against 
participation in races and gladiatorial fights (to be punished by 
excommunication), against the rebaptism of heretics, and on other 
matters of discipline. Clergymen who could be proven to have 
delivered sacred books or utensils in persecution (the traditores) 
should be deposed, but their official acts were to be held 
valid. The assistance of at least three bishops was required at 
ordination. 2 

3. The Council of ANCYRA, the capital of Galatia in Asia 
Minor, was held soon after the death of the persecutor Maximin 
(313), probably in the year 314, and represented Asia Minor 
and Syria. It numbered from twelve to eighteen bishops (the 
lists vary), several of whom eleven years afterwards attended 
the Council of Nicsea. Marcellus of Ancyra who acquired 
celebrity in the Arian controversies, presided, according to 
others Vitalis of Antioch. Its object was to heal the wounds 
of the Diocletian persecution, and it passed twenty-five canons 
relating chiefly to the treatment of those who had betrayed their 
faith or delivered the sacred books in those years of terror. 
Priests who had offered sacrifice to the gods, but afterwards 
repented, were prohibited from preaching and all sacerdotal 
functions, but allowed to retain their clerical dignity. Those 
who had sacrificed before baptism may be admitted to ordera 

1 Not 633, as Mddintock & Strong's "Cyclop." has it sub Axles. 

2 See Ens. H. E. z. 5; Mansi, II. 463-468; Munchen, J>as erste Gonctt wi 
Arks (in the "Bonner Zeifechrift fur Philos. und kath. TheoL," No. 9,^6, 27), 
and Hefele L 201-219 (2nd ed.). 


Adultery is to be punished by seven years* penance, murder 
by life-long penance. 1 

A similar Council was held soon afterwards at Neo-Csesarea 
in Cappadocia (between 314-325), mostly by the same bishops 
<vho attended that of Ancyra, and passed fifteen disciplinar^canous-* 

56. Collections of Ecclesiastical Law. The Apostolical Con- 

stitutiom and Canons. 


L dtaTayoti TWV dytwv 'Axoff-dAwv did K)jQfuevrQ$ 9 etc., C/O3EST.LTIJTlOyE8 
APOSTOLIOE, first edited by Fr. Tiirrianus, Yen. 1563, then in 
Cotelier's ed. of the Patres Apostolici (1. 199 sqq.), in Mansi (Collect. 
Condi. L), and Earduin (Coll Cone. L); newly edited by Ueltzen, 
Eost. 1853, and P. A. de Lagarde, Lips, and Lond. 1854 and 1862. 
Ueltzen gives the textus receptus improved. Lagarde aims at the 
oldest text, which he edited in Syriac (Didascalia Apostolorum 
Syriace, 1854), and in Greek (Consttt. Apostolorum Greece, 1862). 
Hilgenfeld: Nov. Test, extra Canonem rec., Lips. (1866), ed. II. (1884), 
Fasc. IV. 110-121. He gives the Ap. Church Order under the title 
Duce Vice vcl Judicium Petri. 

THOS. PELL PLATT : The JEthiopic I>idasealia; or the JEthiopic Version of the 
Apostolical Constitutions, received in the Church of Abyssihia 3 with an Engl 
Transl., Lond. 1834. 

HENRY TATTAM: The Apt&tolieal Constitutions, or Canons of the Apostles in 
Coptic. With an Encjl. translation. Lond. 1848 (214 pages). 

EL Kav6v$$ ixxtyfftaffrixo} T&V &f. 9 AKo<rc6la>v, CiJ^ONES, qui dicuntut 
Apostolorum, in most collections of church law, and in Cofet. (I. 437 
sqq.)j Man&i, and Harduin (torn. L), and in the editions of the Ap. 
Constitutions at the close. Separate edd. by PATTL DE LAGARDE in 
Greek and Syriac : Reliquice juris ecde&iastici antiguissimcs Syriace. 
Lips. 1856 ; and Reliquiae juris ecdesiastici Greece, 1856 (both to he 
had at Trubner's, Strassburg). An Ethiopic translation of the 
Canons, ed. by WINAND FELL, Leipz. 1871. 

W. G-. BEVERIDGE (Bishop of St. Asaph, d. 1708) : 2w<5&w, 5. Pandtcto 
Canonum 8. G. Apostolorum ei Condliorum, ab Ecclesia Grr. recept 
Oxon. 1672-82, 2 vols. fol. 

JOHN FULTON: Index Canonum. In Greek and English. With a Com- 
plete Digest of the entire code of canon law in the undivided Primitive 
Church. N. York 1872 ; revised ed. with Preface by P. Schaff, 1883. 

i Hefele, vol. I. 222 sqq., gives the canons in Greek and German with ex- 
planation. He calls it a Synodus plenaria, i. e., a general council for the 
churches of Asia Minor and Syria. See also Mansi II, 514 sqq. Two Arian 
Synods were held at Ancyra in 358 and 375. * See Hefele I. 242-25J . 

SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

KBABBE: Ueber den Ursprung u. den InhaU der apost. Oonstitutionen da 

Clemens Bamanus. Hamb. 1829. 
S. v. DEEY (R C.) : JVeue Untersuchungen uber die Constitut. u. Kanones der Ap. 

Tiib. 1832. 
J. W. BiCKELL (d. 1848) : Gesch. des Kirchenrechts. Giess. 1843 (1. 1, pp. 52- 

255). The second part appeared, Frankf., 1849. 
CHASE: Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, including the Canons; WJiiston's 

version revised from the Greek; with a prize essay (of Krabbe) upon t/ieir 

origin and contents. Kew York, 1848. 
BUXSEN : Hippolytus u. seine Zeit, Leipz. 1852 (I. pp. 418-525, and II. pp. 1- 

126) ; and in the 2d Engl. ed. Hippolytus and his Age, or Christianity and 

Mankind, Lond. 1854 (vols. V-Vn). 
fTTMreT.-R (B. C.) : GoncUiengeschichte I. p. 792 sqq. (second ed. 1873). 

THE DIDACHE LITERATURE (folly noticed in Schaff's monograph). 
PEQLOTH. BEYENNIOS : AJ&OT rwv 6&6eKa airoar6?iuv. Constantinople, 1833. 
AD. HARNACK : DieLehreder Zicb'lf Apostel. Leipz., 1884. Die Aposteikhre 

unddiejudisch&iltiden Wege, 1886. 
PH. SCHAFF: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, or the Oldest Church 

Manual. N. York, 1885. 3d ed. revised and enlarged, 1889. 

Several church manuals or directories of public worship, and 
discipline have come down to us from the first centuries in differ- 
ent languages. They claim directly or indirectly apostolic 
origin and authority, but are post-apostolic and justly excluded 
from the canon. They give us important information on the 
ecclesiastical laws, morals, and customs of the ante-Nicene age. 

and simplest church manual, of Jewish Christian (Palestinian or 
Syrian) origin, from the end of the first -century, known to the 
Greek fathers, but only recently discovered and published by 
Biyennios (1883). It contains in 16 chapters (1) a summary of 
moral instruction based on the Decalogue and the royal com- 
mandment of love to God and man, in the parabolic form of two 
ways, the way of life and the way of death ; (2) directions on 
the celebration of baptism and the eucharist with the agape ; (3) 
directions on discipline and the oflices of apostles ( e. travelling 
evangelists), prophets, teachers, bishops (L e. presbysters), and 
deacons; (4) an exhortation to watchfulness in view of the 
coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the saints. A very 


remarkable book. Its substance survived in the seventh book 
of the Apostolical Cofastitutions. 

or APOSTOLICAL CHURCH ORDER, of Egyptian origin, probably 
of the third century. An expansion of the former in the shape 
of a fictitious dialogue of the apostles, first published in Greek 
by Bickell (1843), and then also in Coptic and Syriac. It con- 
tains ordinances of the apostles on morals, worship, and discipline. 

3. THE APOSTOLICAL CONSTITUTIONS, the most complete and 
important Church Manual. It is, in form, a literary fiction, 
professing to be a bequest of all the apostles, handed down 
through the Roman bishop Clement, or dictated to him. It 
begins with the words : " The apostles and elders, to all who 
among the nations have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Grace be with you, and peace." It contains, in eight books, a 
collection of moral exhortations, church laws and usages, and 
liturgical formularies, which had gradually arisen in the various 
churches from the close of the first century, the time of the 
Roman Clement, downward, particularly in Jerusalenij Antioch, 
Alexandria, and Rome, partly on the authority of apostolic 
practice. These were at first orally transmitted ; then committed 
to writing in different versions, like the creeds; and finally 
brought, by some unknown hand, into their present form. The 
first six books, which have a strongly Jewish-Christian tone, were 
composed, with the exception of some later interpolations, at the 
end of the third century, in Syria. The seventh book is an ex- 
pansion of the Didaehe of the Twelve Apostles. The eighth 
book contains a liturgy, and, in an appendix, the apostolical 
canons. The collection of the three parts into one whole 
may be the work of the compiler of the eighth book. It 
is no doubt of Eastern authorship, for the church of Rome 
nowhere occupies a position of .priority or supremacy. 1 The 

1 Harnack (I c. 266-268) identifies Pseudo-Clement with Pseudo-Ignatius, 
and assigns him to the middle of the fourth centuiy. 

SECOND PEKIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

design TOS, to set forth the ecclesiastical life for laity and clergy, 
and to establish the episcopal theocracy. These constitutions 
were more used and consulted in the East than any work of the 
fathers, and were taken as the rule in matters of discipline, like 
the Holy Scriptures in matters of doctrine. Still the collection, 
as such, did not rise to formal legal authority, and the second 
Trullan council of 692 (known as quinisextum), rejected it for 
its heretical interpolations, while the same council acknowledged 
the Apostolical Canons. 1 

The " APOSTOLICAL CANONS" consist of brief church rules or 
prescriptions, in some copies eighty-five in number, in others 
fifty, and pretend to be of apostolic origin, b6ing drawn up by 
Clement of Rome from the directions of the apostles, who in 
several places speak in the first person. They are incorporated 
in the "Constitutions" as an appendix to the eighth book, 
but are found also by themselves, in Greek, Syriac, jEthiopic, 
and Arabic manuscripts. Their contents are borrowed partly 
from the Scriptures, especially the Pastoral Epistles, partly from 
tradition, and partly from the decrees of early councils at An- 
tioch, Neo-Cresarea, jSicsea, Laodicea, &c. (but probably not 
Chalcedon, 451), They are, therefore, evidently of gradual 
growth, and were collected either after the middle of the 
fourth century/ or not till the latter part of the fifth/ by some 

1 Turrianiis, Bovius, and the eccentric Whiston regarded these pseudo- 
apostolic Constitutions as a 'genuine work of the apostles, containing Christ's 
teaching during the forty days between the Eesurrection and Ascension, But 
Baronius, Bellarmin, and Petavius attached little weight to them, and the 
Protestant scholars, Daillg and Blondel, attacked and overthrew their genuine- 
ness and authority. The work is a gradual growth, with many repetitions, 
interpolations, and contradictions, and anachronisms. James, who was be- 
headed (A. D. 44), is made to sit in council with Paul (VI. 14), but elsewhere 
is represented as dead (V. 7). The apostles condemn post-apostolic heresies 
and heretics (VI. 8), and appoint days of commemoration of their death 
(VIII- 33). Episcopacy is extravagantly extolled. P. de Lagarde says: 
(Ed juris eccfes. ant., Preface, p. IV.) : Communi* mwrum doctorum fere om- 
niwn nunc inmhtit optnio eas [constitution] sascuk tertio clam sucerevisse eL qwm 

x aligiKindo libris absolute fuissent* septimo et octavo auctas esse posted." 

a As Bickell supposes. Beveridge put the collection in the third century. 

* According to Daille, Dr. von Drey, and Mejer. 



unknown hand, probably also in Syria. They are designed to 
furnish a* complete system of discipline for the clergy. Of the 
laity they say scarcely a word. The eighty-fifth and last canon 
settles the canon of the Scripture, but reckons among the Xew 
Testament books two epistles of Clement and the genuine books 
of the pseudo-Apostolic Constitutions. 

The Greek church, at the Trullan council of 692, adopted 
the whole collection of eighty-five canons as authentic and bind- 
ing, and John of Damascus placed it even on a parallel with 
the epistles of the apostle Paul, thus showing that he had no 
sense of the infinite superiority of the inspired writings. The 
Latin church rejected it* at first, but subsequently decided for 
the smaller collection of fifty canons, which Dionysus Exiguus 
about the year 500 translated from a Greek manuscript. 

57. Church Discipline. 

L Several Tracts of TERTTTLLIAJS- (especially De Pcenitentia). The 
PMZosophumena of HIPPOLYTUS (L IX.). The Epistles of CYPBIA^", 
and his work De Lap&is. The Epistola Canonicce of DIONYSIUS of 
Alex., GREGORY THAUMATURGUS (about 260), and PETER of Alex. 
(about 306), collected in EOUTH'S Reliquiae Sacrce, torn. HL, 2nd 
ed. The CONSTIT. APOST. II. 16, 21-24. The CAXOXS of the coun- 
cils of Elvira, Arelate, Ancyra, Neo-Ccesarea y and Niccea, between 
306 and 325 (in the Collections of Councils, and in Bourn's Ediq. 
8aer. torn. IV.). 

II. MORINUS : De Disdplina in administrations sacram paenitentiae, Par. 
1651 (Venet. 1702). 

MARSHALL : Penitential Discipline of the Primitive Church. Lond. 1714 
(new ed. 1844). 

FR. FRANK : Die Bussdisciplin der Kirche bis zum 7 Jahrh. Mainz. 

On the di'-lpline of the Montanists, see BONWETSCH: Die GescTiichte de$ 
Montanismus (1881), pp. 108-118. 

The ancient church was distinguished for strict discipline. 
Previous to Constantine the Great, this discipline rested on 
purely moral sanctions, and had nothing to do with civil con- 
straints and punishments. A person might be expelled from one 
congregation without the least social injury. But the more pow- 
erful the church became, the more serious were the consequences 

188 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-811. 

of her censures, and when she was united with the state, eccle- 
siastical offenses were punished as offenses against the state, in 
extreme cases even with death. The church always abhorred 
blood ("ecclesia non sitit sanguinem"), but she handed the offen- 
der over to the civil government to be dealt with according 
to law. The worst offenders for many centuries were heretics or 
teachers of false doctrine. 

The object of discipline was, on the one hand, the dignity and 
purity of the church, on the other, the spiritual welfare of the 
offender ; punishment being designed to be also correction. The 
extreme penalty was excommunication, or exclusion from all the 
rights and privileges of the faithful. This was inflicted for heresy 
and schism, and all gross crimes, such as theft, murder, adultery, 
blasphemy, and the denial of Christ in persecution. After Ter- 
tullian, these and like offences, incompatible with the regenerate 
&tate, were classed as mortal sins, 1 in distinction from venial 
sins or sins of weakness. 2 

Persons thus excluded passed into the class of penitents, 3 and 
could attend only the catechumen worship. Before they could 
be re-admitted to the fellowship of the church, they were 
required to pass through a process like that of the catechumens^ 
only still more severe, and to prove the sincerity of their peni- 
tence by the absence from all pleasures, from ornament in dress, 
and from nuptial intercourse, by confession, frequent prayer, 
fasting, almsgiving, and other good works. Under pain of a 
troubled conscience and of separation from the only saving 
church, 'they readily submitted to the severest penances. The 
church teachers did not neglect, indeed, to inculcate the penitent 
spirit and the contrition of the heart as the main thing. Yet 
many of them laid too great stress on certain outward exercises. 

1 Peccata mortalia, or, ad mortem; after a rather arbitrary interpretation of 
1 John 5 : 16. Tertullian gives seven mortal sins : Homieidium, idololatria,fraus, 
negatw, blasphemia, utique et moeckia etfomicatio etsiqua, alia molatio templi Dei. 
Depudic. Q. 19, These he declares irremissibilia, horum ultra exorator non wit 
Christy*; that is, if they be committed after baptism ; for baptism washes away 
all former guilt. Hence he counselled delay of baptism. 

1 Peccoto venialia. 


Tertulliau conceived the entire church penance as a "satisfac- 
tion " paid to God. This view could easily obscure to a danger- 
ous degree the all-sufficient merit of Christ, and lead to that self- 
righteousness against which the Reformation raised so loud a voice. 
The time and the particular form of the penances, in the 
second century, was left as yet to the discretion of the several 
ministers and churches. Not till the end of the third century 
was a rigorous and fixed system of penitential discipline esta- 
blished, and then this could hardly maintain itself a eenturv. 
Though originating in deep moral earnestness, and designed only 
for good, it was not fitted to promote the genuine spirit of re- 
pentance. Too much formality and legal constraint always 
deadens the spirit, instead of supporting and regulating it. 
This disciplinary formalism first appears, as 'already familiar, 
in the council of Ancyra, about the year 314. * 

Classes of Penitents. 

The penitents were distributed into four classes: 

(1) The WEEPERS, 2 who prostrated themselves at the church 
doors in mourning garments and implored restoration from the 
clergy and the people. 

(2) The HEARERS, 3 who, like the catechumens called by the 
same name, were allowed to hear the Scripture lessons and 
the sermon. 

(3) The KNEELBRS, 4 who attended the public prayers, but 
only in the kneeling posture. 

(4) The STANDEES, 5 who could take part in the whole wor- 
ship standing, but were still excluded from the communion. 

1 Can. 4 sqq. See Hefele, Conciliengesch (second ed.) L 225 sqq. Comp. 
also the fifth canon of Neocsesarea, and Hefele, p. 246. 

2 lipoaKTiaiovre^ flentes ; also called ^eifid^ovre^ hi&nantes. 

9 ' A.Kpo6/LisvoL, audientes, or auditores. The fourteenth canon of Nicaea (Hefele 
L 418) directs that "Catechumens who had fallen, should for three years be 
only hearers, but afterwards pray with the Catechumens." 

* TowicMvovTSG, genuflectentes -' also finwrfrrrovrfif , substrati. The term y6vv 
t&ivuv as designating a class of penitents occurs only in the 5th canon of the 
Council of Neocaesarea, held after 314 and before 325- 

8 SwLGrdfjLevot., consistences. 

190 SECOND PEEIOD. A.D. 100-311, 

Those classes answer to the four stages of penance. 1 The 
course of penance was usually three or four years long, but, 
like the catechetical preparation, could be shortened accord- 
incr to circumstances, or extended to the day of death. In 
the East there were special penitential presbyters, 2 intrusted 
with the oversight of the penitential discipline. 


After the fulfilment of this probation came the act of recon- 
ciliation. 3 The penitent made a public confession of sin, re- 
ceived absolution by the laying on of hands of the minister, 
and precatory or optative benediction, 4 was again greeted by the 
congregation with the brotherly kiss, and admitted to the cele- 
bration of the communion. For the ministry alone was he for 
ever disqualified. Cyprian and Firmilian, however, guard 
against the view, that the priestly absolution of hypocritical 
penitents is unconditional and infallible, and can forestall the 
judgment of God. 5 

Two Parties. 

In reference to the propriety of any restoration in certain cases* 
there was an important difference of sentiment, which gave rise 
to several schisms. All agreed that the church punishment 

fle/us; aKp6am$ y auditus; MTTUOI?, prostratio, humiliatio ; 
$, consistentia. The last three classes are supposed to correspond to 
three classes of catechumens, hut without good reason. There was only one 
class of catechumens, or at most two classes. See below, ? 72. 
* TLpsvpvTEpot, 1-i rfc nsravoias, presbyteri poenitentiani 
8 Reconciliatio. 

4 The declarative; and especially the direct indicative or judicial form of 
titeolution seems to be of later origin. 

5 Cypr. Epist. LV., c. 15: " Neque &nim prejitdicamus Domino judicaturo, 
quominus si pwaitentiam plenam et justam peccatoris invenerit tune raium fcuyiatj 
quod a nobis fuerit hie statutum. Si vero nos oliquis pcenitentice simulatioTie de- 
luserit, Deus y cui non derideturj et qni cor hominis intuetur t de hiSj qwx nos minus 
perspeximus, judket et serwrum suorum sententiam Dominus emendet" Comp. 
the similar passages in Epist. LXXV. 4, and De Lapsis, c. 17. But if the 
church can err in imparting absolution to the unworthy, as Cyprian concedes, 
she can err also in withholding absolution and in passing sentence of excom- 


could not forestall the judgment of God at the last day, but was 
merely temporal, and looked to the repentance and conversion 
of the subject. But it was a question whether the church 
should restore even the grossest offender on his confession of 
sorrow, or should, under certain circumstances, leave him to the 
judgment of God. The strict, puritanic party, to which the 
Montanists, the Novatians, and the Donatists belonged, and, for 
a time, the whole African and Spanish Church, took ground 
against the restoration of those who had forfeited the grace of 
baptism by a mortal sin, especially by denial of Christ ; since, 
otherwise, the church would lose her characteristic holiness, and 
encourage loose morality. The moderate party, which prevailed 
in the East, in Egypt, and especially in Borne, and was so far 
the catholic party, held the principle that the church should 
refuse absolution and communion, at least on the death-bed, 
to no penitent sinner. Paul himself restored the Corinthian 
offender. 1 

The point here in question was of great practical moment in 
the times of persecution, when hundreds and thousands re- 
nounced their faith through weakness, but as soon as the danger 
was passed, pleaded for readmission into the church, and were 
very often supported in their plea by the potent intercessions 
of the martyrs and confessors, and their libelli pads. The 
principle was: necessity knows no law. A mitigation of the 
penitential discipline seemed in such cases justified by every 
consideration of charity and policy. So great was the number 
of the lapsed in the Decian persecution, that even Cyprian 
found himself compelled to relinquish his former rigoristk' 
views, all the more because he held that out of the visible 
church there was no salvation. 

The strict party were zealous for the holiness of God ; the 
moderate, for his grace. The former would not go beyond the 
revealed forgiveness of sins by baptism, and were content with 
urging the lapsed to repentance, without offering them hope of 

1 1 Cor. 5 : 1 sqq. Comp. 2 Cor. 2 : 5 sqq. 

192 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

absolution in this life. The latter refused to limit the mercy 
of God and expose the sinner to despair. The former were 
carried away with an ideal of the church which cannot be 
realized till the second coining of Christ; and while impelled to 
, a fanatical separatism, they proved, in their own sects, the im- 
possibiiy of an absolutely pure communion on earth. The 
others not rarely ran to the opposite extreme of a dangerous 
looseness, were quite too lenient, even towards mortal sins, 
and sapped the earnestness of the Christian morality. 

It is remarkable that the lax penitential discipline had its 
chief support from the end of the second century, in the Roman 
church. Tertullian assails that church for this with bitter mock- 
ery. Hippolytus, soon after him, does the same; for, though 
uo Montanist, he was zealous for strict discipline. According to 
his statement (in the ninth book of his Philosophumena), evi- 
dently made from fact, the pope Callistus, whom a later age 
stamped a saint because it knew little of him, admitted bigami 
and trlgami to ordination, maintained that a bishop could not 
be deposed, even though he had committed a mortal sin, and 
appealed for his view to Rom. 14 : 4, to the parable of the tares 
and the wheat, Matt. 13 : 30, and, above all, to the ark of Noah, 
which was a symbol of the church, and which contained both 
clean and unclean animals, even dogs and wolves. In short, he 
considered no sin too great to be loosed by the power of the 
keys in the church. And this continued to be the view of his 

But here we perceive, also, how the looser practice in regard 
to penance was connected with the interest of the hierarchy. It 
favored the power of the priesthood, which claimed for itself 
the right of absolution ; it was at the same time matter of worldly 
policy ; it promoted the external spread of the church, though 
at the expense of the moral integrity of her membership, and 
facilitated both her subsequent union with the state and her 
hopeless confusion with the world. No wonder the church of 
Rome, in this point, as in others, triumphed at last over all 


58. Church Schisms. 

L On the Schism of HIPPOLYTTJS-. The Pkilosophumena of HIPPOL. 
lib. IX. (ed. Aliller, Oxf, 1851, better by Duncker and Schneidewin, 
Gott. 1859), and the monographs on Hippolytus, by Bunsen 3 D61- 
linger, Wordsworth, Jacobi, and others (which will" be noticeJ i * 
chapter-XIII. J 183). 

II. On the Schism of Felicissimus : CYPRIAN: Epist. 38-40, 42, 55. 

III. On the Novatian Schism: HIPPOL.: Philosoph. 1. IX. CYPE.: 
JEpist. 41-52 ; and the Epistles of CORNELIUS of Rome, and Dio^rrs. 
of Alex., in Euseb."#. E., VI. 43-45 ; VIL 8. Comp. Lit. in 1200. 

IV. On the Meletian Schism : Documents in Latin translation in MAFFEI: 
Osservationi Letterarie, Verona, 1738, torn. III. p. 11 sqq., and the 
Greek fragments from the Liber de pcenitentia of Peter of Alexandria 
in ROUTH : Reliquice Sacr. vol. II. pp. 21-51. EPIPHAST. : Soer. 68 
(favorable to Meletius) ; ATHANAS. : ApoL contra Arianos, | 59 ; and 
after him, SOCE., SOZOM., and THEOD. (very nnfavorable to 

Out of this controversy on the restoration of the lapsed, pro- 
ceeded four schisms during the third century ; two in Rome, one 
in North Africa, and one in Egypt. Montanism, too, was in 
a measure connected with, the question of penitential discipline, 
but extended also to several other points of Christian life, and 
will be discussed in a separate chapter. 

I. The Roman schism of HIPPOLYTUS. This has recently 
been brought to the light by the discovery of his Phttosophu- 
mena (1851). Hippolytus was a worthy disciple of Irenseus, 
arid the most learned and zealous divine in Rome, during the 
pontificates of Zephyrinus (202-217), and Callistus (217-222). 
He died a martyr in 235 or 236. He was an advocate of strict 
views on discipline in opposition to the latitudinarian prac- 
tice which we have described in the previous section. He 
gives a most unfavorable account of the antecedents of Callistus, 
and charges him and his predecessor with the patripassian heresv 
The difference, therefore, was doctrinal as well as disciplinarian. 
It seems to have led to mutual excommunication and a tem- 
porary schism, which lasted till A. D. 235. Hippolytus ranks 
himself with the successors of the apostles, and seems to have 
been bishop of Portus. the port of Rome (according to later 
Vol.11. 13. 

J94 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Latin tradition), or bishop of Rome (according to Greek writers). 
If bishop of Rome, lie was the first schismatic pope, and fore- 
runner of Novatianus, who was ordained anti pope in 251. 1 
But the Roman Church must have forgotten or forgiven his 
schism, for she numbers him among her saints and martyrs, and 
celebrates his memory on the twenty-second -of August. Pru- 
dentius, the Spanish poet, represents him as a Roman presbyter, 
who first took part in the Novatian schism, then returned to the 
Catholic church, and was torn to pieces by wild horses at Ostia 
on account of his faith. The remembrance of the schism was 
lost in the glory of his supposed or real martyrdom. According 
to the chronological catalogue of Popes from A.D. 354, a 
" presbyter 33 Hippolytus, together with the Roman bishop Pon- 
tianus, the successor of Callistus, was- banished from Rome in 
the reign of Alexander Severus (235), to the mines of Sardinia. 3 
II. The schism of FELICISSIMTJS, at Carthage, about the year 
250, originated in the personal dissatisfaction of five presbyters 
with the hasty and irregular election of Cyprian to the bishopric, 
by the voice of the congregation, very soon after his baptism, 
A.D. 248. At the head of this opposition party stood the pres- 
byter Novatus, an unprincipled ecclesiastical demagogue, of 
restless, insubordinate spirit and notorious character, 3 and th$- 
deacon Felicissimus, whom Novatus ordained, without the per- 
mission or knowledge of Cyprian, therefore illegally, whether 
with his own hands or through those of foreign bishops. The 
controversy cannot, however, from this circumstance, be con- 
strued, as it is by Neander and others, into a presbyterial 
reaction against episcopal autocracy. For the opponent them- 
selves afterwards chose a bishop in the person of F^rtunatus. 


1 See the particulars in ? 183, and in DoDinge'r's ByppoL'tsotfy. Gall, Engl, 
transl. by A. Plummer (1876), p. 92 sqq. ' / 

4 See Mommsen, Ueber den. Chronographen mm Jabr 354 (1^50), JLipsiiw, 
Ghronologie der rom. Bisehdfa p. 40 sqq. ; Dollinger, I c. p. 332 sqjq. ; Jacobi in 
aerzog*VL 142 sqq. 

1 Cyprian charge? him with terrible cruelties, such as robbing widows and 
orphans, gross abuse of his father, and of his wife even during her pregnancy; 
and says, that he was about to be arraigned for this and similar misconduct 
Then the Decian persecution broke out Eo. 49. 

? 58. CHURCH SCHISMS. 195 

The Novatians and the Meletians likewise had the episcopal 
form of organization, though doubtless with many irregularities 
in the ordination. 

After the outbreak of the Decian persecution this personal 
rivalry received fresh nourishment and new importance from 
the question of discipline. Cyprian originally held Tertullian's 
principles, and utterly opposed the restoration of the lapsed, 
till further examination changed his views. Yet, so great was 
the multitude of the fallen, that he allowed an exception in 
periculo mortis. His opponents still saw even in this position 
an unchristian severity, least of all becoming him, who, as they 
misrepresented him, fled from his post for fear of death. They 
gained the powerful voice of the confessors, who in the face 
of their own martyrdom freely gave their peace-bills to the 
lapsed. A regular trade was carried on in these indulgences. 
An arrogant confessor, Lucian, wrote to Cyprian in the name of 
the rest, that he granted restoration to all apostates, and begged 
him to make this known to the other bishops. We can easily 
understand how this lenity from those who stood in the fire, 
might take more with the people than the strictness of the 
bishop, who had secured himself. The church of Xovatus 
and Felicissimus was a resort of all the careless lapsi. Fe- 
licissimus set himself also against a visitation of churches 
and a collection for the poor, which Cyprian ordered during 
his exile. 

"When the bishop returned, after Easter, 251, he held a 
council at Carthage, which, though it condemned the party of 
Felicissimus, took a middle course on the point in dispute. It 
sought to preserve the integrity of discipline, yet at the same 
time to secure the fallen against despair. It therefore decided 
for the restoration of those who proved themselves truly peni- 
tent, but against restoring the careless, who asked the commu- 
nion merely from fear of death. Cyprian afterwards, when the 
persecution was renewed, under Gall us, abolished even this limi- 
tation. He was thus, of course, not entirely consistent, but 
gradually accommodated his principles to circumstances and to 

196 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

the practice of the Roman church. 1 His antagonists elected 
their bishop, indeed, but were shortly compelled to yield to the 
united force of the African and Eoman churches, especially as 
they had no moral earnestness $t the bottom of their cause. 

His conflict with this schismatical movement strengthened Cy- 
prian's 'episcopal authority, and led him in his doctrine of the 
unity of the church to the principle of absolute exclusiveness. 

III. The XOVATIAST schism in Borne was prepared by the 
controversy already alluded to between Hippolytus and Callistus. 
It broke out soon after the African schism, and, like it, in con- 
sequence of an election of bishop. But in this case the opposi- 
tion advocated the strict discipline against the 'lenient practice 
of the dominant church. The Novatianists 2 considered them- 
selves the only pure communion/ and unchurched all churches 
which defiled themselves by re-admitting the lapsed, or any other 
gross offenders. They went much farther than Cyprian, even 
as far as the later Donatists. They admitted the possibility of 
mercy for a mortal sinner, but denied the power and the right 
of the church to decide upon it, 'and to prevent, by absolution, 
the judgment of God upon such offenders. They also, like Cy- 
prian, rejected heretical baptism, and baptized all who came over 
to them from other communions not just so rigid as themselves. 

At the head of this party stood the Eoman presbyter Nova- 
tian, 4 an earnest, learned, but gloomy man, who had come to 
faith through severe demoniacal disease and inward struggles. 
He fell out with Cornelius, who, after the Decian persecution in 
251, was nominated bishop of Rome, and at once, to the grief 
of many, showed great indulgence towards the lapsed. Among 
his adherents the above-named Novatus of Carthage was par- 
ticularly busy, either from a mere spirit of opposition to exist- 
ing authority, or from having changed his former lax principles 
on his removal to Eome. Nbvatian, against his will, was chosen 

1 In Ufa. 52, Ad Antonianvm, he tried to justify himself in regard to this 
change in his views. 8 Nbvatiani, Novatianeiises. 8 Ka&apot. 

* Eosebins and the Greeks call him "Soov&rof, and confound him with Novalus 
of Carthage. Dionysius of Alex., however, calls him 


bishop by the opposition. Cornelius excommunicated him. 
Both parties courted the recognition of the churches abroad, 
Fabian, bishop of Antioch, sympathized with the rigorists. 
Dionysius of Alexandria, on the contrary, accused them of 
blaspheming the most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, by calling 
him unmerciful. And especially Cyprian, from his seal for 
ecclesiastical unity and his aversion to Novatus, took sides with 
Cornelius, whom he regarded the legitimate bishop of Rome. 

In spite of this strong opposition the Xovatian sect, by virtue 
of its moral earnestness, propagated itself in various provinces 
of the West and the East down to the sixth century. In 
Phrygia it combined with the remnants of the ilontanists. 
The council of Nicsea recognized its ordination, and endeavored, 
without success, to reconcile it with the Catholic church. Con- 
stantine, at first dealt mildly with the Novations, but afterwards 
prohibited them to worship in public and ordered their books 
to be burnt. 

IV. The MELETIAN schism in Egypt arose in the Diocletian 
persecution, about 305, and lasted more than a century, but, 
owing to the contradictory character of our accounts, it is not so 
well understood. It was occasioned by Meletius, bishop of 
Lycopolis in Thebais, who, according to one statement^ from 
zeal for strict discipline, according to another, from sheer arro- 
gance, rebelled against his metropolitan, Peter of Alexandria 
(martyred in 311), and during his absence encroached upon his 
diocese with ordinations, excommunications, and the like. Peter 
warned his people against him, and, on returning from his 
flight, deposed him as a disturber of the peace of the churchc 
But the controversy continued, and spread over all Egypt. The 
council of Mcaea endeavored, by recognizing the ordination of 
the twenty-nine Meletian bishops, and by other compromise 
measures, to heal the division ; but to no purpose. The Mele- 
tfans afterwards made common cause with the Arians. 

The DONATIST schism, which was more formidable than any 
of those mentioned, likewise grew out of the Diocletian perse- 
cution, but belongs more to the next period. 



L The richest sources here are the works of JUSTE* M., TEBTTTLLULW, 
TOLICJE; also CLEMENT OF EOME (Ad Cor. 59-61), and the Homily 
falsely ascribed to him (fully publ. 1875). 

II. See the books quoted in vol. L 455, and the relevant sections in the 
archaeological works of BDTGHAM (Antiquities of the Christian 
Church, Lond. 1708-22. 10 vols. ; new ed. Lond. 1852, in 2 vols.), 
AUGITSTI (whose larger work fills 12 vols., Leipz. 1817-31, and his 
Handbuch der Christl. Arch&oL 3 vols. Leipz. 1836), BlNTEBIM 
(R C.), SIEGEL, SMITH & CHEETHAM (Diet, of Chr. Ant., Lond. 
1875, 2 vols.), and GABBUCCI (Storia della artecrist., 1872-80, 6 vols.) 

59. Places of Common Worship. 

B. EosprsiAOTS: De Templis, etc. Tig. 1603. And in his Opera, 
Genev. 1681. 

FABRICIUS : De Templis vett. Christ Helmst. 1704. 

MUBATOBI (E. C.) : Deprimis Christianorum Ecclesiis. Arezzo, 1770. 

HUBSCH: Altchristliche Eirchen. Karlsruh, 1860. 

Jos. MULLOOLT: St. Clement and his Basilica in Borne. Eome, 2^ ed. 

DE VOGUE : Architecture civile et relig. du 1 au VTI e sifole. Paris, 
1877, 2 vols. 

The numerous works on church architecture (by Fergusson, Brown, 
Bunsen, Kugler, Kinkel, Kreuser, Schnaase, Lubke, Voillet-le-Duc, 
De Vogiie, etc.) usually begin with the basilicas of the Constan- 
tinian age, which are described in vol. III. 541 sqq. 

THE Christian worship, as might be expected from the 
humble condition of the -church in this period of persecution, 
was very simple, strongly contrasting with the pomp of the 
Greek and Roman communion ; yet by no means puritanic. 
We perceive here, as well as in organization and doctrine, the 
gradual and sure approach of the Nicene age, especially in the 
ritualistic solemnity of the baptismal service, and the mystical 
character of the eucharistic sacrifice. 


Let us glance first at the places of public worship. Until 
about the close of the second century the Christians held their 
worship mostly in private houses, or in desert places, at the 
graves of martyrs, and in the crypts of the catacombs. This 
arose from their poverty, their oppressed and" outlawed con- 
dition, their love of silence and solitude, and their aversion to all 
heathen art. The apologists frequently assert, that their brethren 
had neither temples nor altars (in the pagan sense of these 
words), and that their worship was spiritual and independent 
of place and ritual. Heathens, like Celsus, cast this up to them 
as a reproach ; but Origen admirably replied : The humanity 
of Christ is the highest temple and the most beautiful image of 
God, and true Christians are living statues of the Holy Spirit. 
with which no Jupiter of Phidias can compare. Justin Martyr 
said to the Eoman prefect: The Christians assemble wherever 
it is convenient, because their God is not, like the gods of the 
heathen, inclosed in space, but is invisibly present everywhere. 
Clement of Alexandria refhtes the superstition, that religion is 
bound to any building. 

In private houses the room best suited for worship and for 
the love-feast was the oblong dining-hall, the triclinium, which 
was never wanting in a convenient Greek or Roman dwelling, 
*and which often had a semicircular niche, like the choir 1 in the 
later churches. An elevated seat 2 was used for reading the 
Scriptures and preaching, and a simple table 3 for the holy com- 
munion. Similar arrangements were made also in the cata- 
combs, which sometimes have the form of a subterranean 

The first traces of special houses of worship 4 occur in Tertul- 

1 Chorus, Pfaa. The two are sometimes identified, sometimes distinguished, 
ihe bema being the sanctuary proper for the celebration of the holy mysteries, 
the choir the remaining part of the chancel for the clergy ; while the nave was 
for the laity. 

* 'A/^/foj', suggestus, pulpitum. 

d Tpdirefy, mensa sacra; also ara, altare. 

* 'Ewe^fffo, kKK^ataar^ptov, Kupuucd, ol/cof #ou, ecdesia, dominica, domus Do, 
templum. The names for a church building in the Teutonic and Slavonic Ian- 

200 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

lian, who speaks of going to church/ and in his 'contemporary 
Clement of Alexandria, who mentions the double meaning of 
the word ixxtyffia. 2 About the year 230, Alexander Severus 
granted the Christians the right to a place in Rome against ttoe 
protest of the tavern-keepers, because the worship of God in any 
form was better than tavern-keeping. After the middle of the 
third century the building of churches began in great earnest, 
as the Christians enjoyed over forty years of repose (260-303), 
and multiplied so fast that, according to Eusebius, more spa- 
cious places of devotion became everywhere necessary. The 
Diocletian persecution began (in 303,) with the destruction of the 
magnificent church at Nicomedia, which, according to Lactan- 
tius, even towered above the neighboring imperial palace. 3 
Rome is supposed to have had, as early as the beginning of the 
fourth century, more than forty churches. But of the form 
and arrangement of them we have no account. With Constan- 
tine the Great begins the era of church architecture, and its first 
style is the Basilica. The emperor himself set the example, 
and built magnificent churches in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, 
and Constantinople, which, however, have undergone many 
changes. His contemporary, the historian Eusebius, gives us 
the first account of a church edifice which Paulinus built in 
Tyre between A.D. 313 and 322.* It included a large portico 
) ; a quadrangular atrium (al'&pcov), surrounded by 

guages (l&rche, Church, JTerfc, J&pfa* 2fcer&>/, etc.) are derived from the Greek 
Kopuucfi, KvptaK6v (belonging to the Lord, the Lord's house), through the medium 
of the Gothic; the names in the Romanic languages (Chi&a, Igrqa, figlise, etc.) 
from the Latin ecdesia y although this is also from the Greek, and means origi- 
nally assembly (either a local congregation, or the whole body of Christians).. 
Churches erected specially in honor of martyrs were called martyria, mcmoriost 
j tiiulL 

9 De Mori. Persec. c. 12. The Chronicle of Edessa (in Assem. BibL Orient, 
XL 397) mentions the destruction of Christian temples A. D. 292. 

4 IZtrf. Ecd. X. 4. Eusebius also describes, in rhetorical exaggeration and 
looseness, the churches built by Constantine in Jerusalem, Antioch, and Con- 
stantinople (Vila Const. 1. III. 50; IV. 58, 59). See De Vogue*, fyfaes de la 
ferre-aamfe, Hiibsch, I c., and Smith & Cheetham, I. 368 WQ. 

g 60. THE LOKD'S DAY. 201 

ranges of columns;' a fountain in the centre of the atrium for 
the customary washing of hands and feet before entering the 
church ; interior porticoes ; the nave or central space (paffitetot 
o&oc) with galleries above the aisles, and covered by a roof 
of cedar of Lebanon ; and the most holy altar (Itycov dj-fwu 
ti-uataaryptov). Eusebius mentions also the thrones (dpovot) for 
the bishops and presbyters, and benches or seats. The church 
was surrounded by halls and inclosed by a wall, which can still 
be traced. Fragments of five granite columns of this building 
ore among the ruins of Tyre. 

The description of a church in the Apostolic Constitutions, 1 
implies that the clergy occupy the space at the east end of the 
church (in the choir), and the people the nave, but mentions no 
barrier between them. Such a barrier, however, existed as earlv 

* ' If 

as the fourth century, when the laity were forbidden to enter the 
enclosure of the altar. 

60. The Lortfs Day. 
See Lit. in vol. L 476. 

The celebration of the Lord's Day in memory of the resurrec- 
tion of Christ dates undoubtedly from the apostolic age. 2 
Nothing short of apostolic precedent can account for the univer- 
sal religious observance in the churches of the second century. 
There is no dissenting voice. This custom is confirmed by the 

1 II. 57, ed. Ueltzen, p. 66 sqq. 

2 The original designations of the Christian Sabbath or "weekly rest-day are : 
'(l fila or jtia aafifidruv, the first day of the week (Matt. 28 : 1 ; Mark 16 : 2 ; 
Luke 24: 1; John 21: 1; Acts 20: 7; 1 Cor. 16: 2), and tf yutpa KvpmKf,, 
the Lord's Day, which first occurs in Eev. 1 : 10, then in Ignatius and the 
fathers. The Latins render it Dominicus or Dominica dies. Barnabas calls it 
the eighth day, in contrast to the Jewish sabbath. After Constantine the Jew- 
ish term Sabbath and the heathen term Sunday ($ t utpa rov f/Mov, dies Softs) 
were used also. In the edict of Gratian, A. D. 386, two are combined : " Sotis 
die, quern Dominicum rite dixere majores" On the Continent of Europe Sunday 
has ruled out Sabbath completely ; while in England, Scotland, and the United 
States Sabbath is used as often as the other or oftener in religious literature. 
The difference is characteristic of the difference in the Continental and the 
Anglo-American observance of the Lord's Day. 

202 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311, 

testimonies of the earliest post-apostolic writers, as Barnabas, 1 
Ignatius, 2 and Justin Martyr. 3 It is also confirmed by the 
younger Pliny. 4 The Didache calls the first day "the Lord's 
Day of the Lord." 5 

Considering that the church was struggling into existence, 
and that a large number of Christians were slaves of heathen 
masters, we cannot expect an unbroken regularity of worship 
and a universal cessation of labor on Sunday until the civil 
government in the time of Constantine came to the help of the 
church and legalized (and in part even enforced) the observance 
of the Lord's Day. This may be the reason why the religious 
observance of it was not expressly enjoined by Christ and the 
apostles; as for similar reasons there is no prohibition of 
polygamy and slavery by the letter of the New Testament, 
although its spirit condemns these abuses, and led to their abo- 
lition. "VFe may go further and say that coercive Sunday laws 
are against the genius and spirit of the Christian religion which 
appeals to the free will of man, and uses only moral means for 
its ends. A Christian government may and ought to protect the 
Christian Sabbath against open desecration, but its positive 
observance by attending public worship, must be left to the 
conscientious conviction of individuals. Eeligion cannot be 
forced by law. It looses its value when it ceases to be voluntary. 
The fathers did not regard the Christian Sunday as a continu- 
ation of, but as a substitute for, the Jewish Sabbath, and based 
it not so much on the fourth commandment, and the primitive 
rest of God in creation, to which the commandment expressly 
refers, as upon the resurrection of Christ and the apostolic tra- 
dition. There was a disposition to disparage the Jewish law in 

1 Ep^ c. 15: "We celebrate the eighth day with joy, on which Jesus rose 
from the dead, and, after having appeared [to his disciples], ascended to 
heaven/' It does not follow from this that Barnabas put the ascension of 
Christ likewise on a Sunday. 

* Ep. ad Magnes. c . 8, 9. * Apol. I. 67. 

* "Statodie," in his letter to Trajan, Ep. X. 97. This "stated day," on which 
the Christians in Bithynia assembled before day-light to sing hymns to Christ 
as a God, and to bind themselves by a scteramentum, must be the Lord's Day. 

6 Ch. 14: Kvptaur/ wpiov, pleonastic. The adjective in Eev. 1 : 10. 

? 60, THE LORD'S DAY. 203 

the zeal to prove the independent originality of Christian insti- 
tutions. The same polemic interest against Judaism ruled in 
the paschal controversies, and made Christian Easter a move- 
able feast. Nevertheless, Sunday was always regarded in the 
ancient church as a divine institution, at least .in the secondary 
sense, as distinct from divine ordinances in the prirnaiy sense, 
which were directly and positively commanded by Christ, as 
baptism and the Lord's Supper. Regular public worship abso- 
lutely requires a stated day of worship. 

Ignatius was the first who contrasted Sunday with the Jewish 
Sabbath as something done away with. 1 So did the author of 
the so-called Epistle of Barnabas. 2 Justin Martyr, in contro- 
versy with a Jew, says that the pious before Moses pleased God 
without circumcision and the Sabbath, 3 and that Christianity 
requires not one particular Sabbath, but a perpetual Sabbath. 4 
He assigns as a reason for the selection of the first day for the 
purposes of Christian worship, because on that day God dis- 
pelled the darkness and the chaos, and because Jesus rose from 
the dead and appeared to his assembled disciples, but makes no 
allusion to the fourth commandment. 5 He uses the term " to 
sabbathize " (^ajS/forif e*v), only of the Jews, except in the pas- 
sage just quoted, where he spiritualizes the Jewish law. Dio- 
nysius of Corinth mentions Sunday incidentally in a letter to 
the church of Some,* A. D., 170: "To-day we kept the Lord's 

1 Ep, ad Magnes. c. 8, 9 in the shorter Greek recension (wanting in the Syriac 

2 Cap. 15. This Epistle is altogether too fierce in its polemics against Ju- 
daism to be the production of the apostolic Barnabas. 

1 Dial o Tryph. Jud. 19, 27 (Tom. I. P. n. p. 68, 90, in the third ed. of 

4 Dial. 12 (II. p. 46) : aa/Sparifriv ipag (so Otto reads, but fyae would be 
better) 6 icaivbe vdpnc 6ta iravrog (belongs to aapparlfriv) ktietei. Comp. Ter- 
tullian, Contra Jud. c. 4 : " Untie nos inteUigimis magiSj sabbatizare nos ab omni 
opere servili semper debere, et non tantum septimo guogue die, sed per omne 

5 ApoL L 67 (I- p. 161) : T#v fe rov fpdov fipipav Koivq ^dvrec r%v ow&svciv 
troiobfjie&a, iireify Ttpbrrj karlv fyepa, sv y 6 &ebg rb ff/cdrof KOI T%V vfo?v rpr^of , 
tc<5o//ov e^o^jycre, ical 'I^trouf 'Kpiarbe 6 ^repoq <rwr#p rrj avry fni&pq. ex veicp&v avttmi 
K.r. A. 

204 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Day holy, in which we read your letter." 1 Melito of Sardis 
wrote a treatise on the Lord's Day, which is lost. 2 Irenseus of 
Lyons, about 170, bears testimony to the celebration of the 
Lord's Day, 3 but likewise regards the Jewish Sabbath merely as 
a symbolical and typical ordinance, and says that "Abraham 
without circumcision and without observance of Sabbaths be- 
lieved in God," which proves "the symbolical and temporary 
character of those ordinances, and their inability to make per- 
fect," 4 Tertullian, at the close of the second and beginning 
of the third century, views the Lord's Day as figurative of rest 
from sin and typical of man's final rest, and says: "We have 
nothing to do with Sabbaths, new moons or the Jewish festivals, 
much less with those of the heathen. We have our own solem- 
nities, the Lord's Day, for instance, and Pentecost. As the 
heathen confine themselves to their festivals and do not observe 
ours, let us confine ourselves to ours, and not meddle with those 
belonging to them." He thought it wrong to fast on the 
Lord's Day, or to pray kneeling during its continuance. " Sun- 
day we give to joy." But he also considered it Christian duty 
to abstain from secular care and labor, lest we give place to the 
devil. 5 This is the first express evidence of cessation from labor 
an Sunday among Christians. The habit of standing in prayer 
on Sunday, which Tertullian regarded as essential to the festive 
character of the day, and which was sanctioned by an oecumenical 
council, was afterwards abandoned by the western church. 

1 Eusebius, K E. IV. 23. 

1 Espl Kvpuudjc Ad>of. Euseb. IV. 26. 

3 Li one of his fragments mpt TOU ird<?x a , and by his part in the Quartadeci- 
manian controversy, which turned on the yearly celebration of the Christian 
Passover, but implied universal agreement as to the weekly celebration of the 
Resurrection. Comp. Hessey, Bampton Lectures on Sunday. London, 186Q 
p. 373. 

*Adv. HOST. IV. 16. 

5 De Oral. c. 23 : "Nbs vero sieut accepimtts, solo die Dominicae Rewrrectionis non 
ab isto tantum [the bowing of the knee], sed omni anzietatis Mbitu et cfficio cavere 
debtmusy difftrentes etiam negotia^ ne quern diabolo locum demus." Other pass- 
ages of Tertullian, Cyprian, Clement of Alex., and Origen see in Hessey I <ju 
pp.375ff. '^ 

60. THE LOKD'S DAY. 205 

The Alexandrian fathers have essentially the same view, with 
some fancies of their own concerning the allegorical meaning 
of the Jewish Sabbath. 

We see then that the ante-N icene church clearly distinguished 
the Christian Sunday from the Jewish Sabbath, and put it OB 
independent Christian ground. She did not fully appreciate 
the perpetual obligation of the fourth commandment in its 
substance as a weekly clay of rest, rooted in the physical and 
moral necessities of man. This is independent of those cere- 
monial enactments which were intended only for the Jews and 
abolished by the gospel. But, on the other hand, the church 
took no secular liberties with the day. On the question of the- 
atrical and other amusements she was decidedly puritanic and 
ascetic, and denounced them as being inconsistent on any day 
with the profession of a soldier of the cross. She regarded 
Sunday as a sacred day, as the Day of the Lord, as the weekly 
commemoration of his resurrection and the pentecostal effiision 
of the Spirit, and therefore as a day of holy joy and thanksgiv- 
ing to be celebrated even before the rising sun by prayer, praise, 
and communion with the risen Lord and Saviour. 

Sunday legislation began with Constantine, and belongs to 
the next period. 

The observance of the Sabbath among the Jewish Christians 
gradually ceased. Yet the Eastern church to this day marks 
the seventh day of the week (excepting only the Easter Sab- 
bath) by omitting fasting, and by standing in prayer ; while the 
Latin church, in direct opposition to Judaism, made Saturday a 
fast day. The Controversy on this point began as early as the 
end of the second century. 

WEDNESDAY/ and especially FRIDAY/ were devoted to the 
weekly commemoration of the sufferings and death of the Lord, 
and observed as days of penance, or watch-days, 3 and half-fast- 
ing (which lasted till three o'clock in the afternoon). 4 

1 Feria quarta. * Feria sexta, $ 

Dies stationum nf the milites Christ^ 4 Semijyurda* 

^08 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

61. The Christian Passover. (Easter). 

H. HOSPIXIA^US : Festa Christ., h. e. de origins, progressu, ceremoniis et 

ritibusfestorum dierum Christ. Tig. 1593, and often. 
A. G. PILLWITZ: Gesch. der hdl. Zeiten in der abendland. Kirche, 

Dresden, 1842. 
M. A. XICKEL (E. C.) : Die heil. Zdten u. Feste nach ihrrer Gesch. u. 

Feier in der kath. Kirche. Mainz, 1825-1838. 6 Tola. 
F. PIPER : Gesch. des Osterfestes. Berl. 1845. 
Lisco : Das christl. Kirchenjahr. Berlin, 1840, 4th ed. 1850. 
STEAUSS (court-chaplain of the King of Prussia, d. 1863) : Das evangel 

Kirchenjahr. Berlin, 1850. 

BOBERTAG: Das evangel. Kirchenjahr. Breslau 1857. 
IL ALT : Der ChrMicJie Cultus, IJ> d Part : Das Kirchenjahr, 2nd ed, 

Berlin 1860. 

L. HEXSLEY: Art. Easter in Smith and Chectham (1875), I. 586-595. 
F.X KKAUS (KG.): Art. Feste in "R.Encytt. der Christl. Alter thumer," 

vol. I. (1881), pp. 486-502, and the lit. quoted there. The article is 

written by several authors, the section on Easter and Pentecost hy 

Dr. Funk of Tubingen. 

The yearly festivals of this period were Easter, Pentecost, 
and Epiphany. They form the rudiments of the church year, 
and keep within the limits of the facts of the New Testament. 

Strictly speaking the ante-Nicene church had two annual 
festive seasons, the Passover in commemoration of the suffering 
of Christ, and the Pentecoste in commemoration of the resur- 
rection and exaltation of Christ, beginning with Easter and 
ending with Pentecost proper. But Passover and Easter were 
connected in a continuous celebration, combining the deepest 
sadness with the highest joy, and hence the term pascha (in Greek 
and Latin) is often used in a wider sense for the Easter season, 
as is the case with the French pdque or p&ques, and the Italian 
pasqua. The Jewish passover also lasted a whole week, and 
after it began their Pentecost or feast of weeks. The death of 
Christ became fruitful in the resurrection, and has no re- 
demptive power without it. The commemoration of the death 
of Christ was called the paseha staurosimon or the Passover 
proper. 1 The commemoration of the resurrection was called 

Pascha, ndaxa, is not from the verb mf^v, to suffer (though often con 


the pasoha anastasimon, and afterwards Easter. 1 The former 
corresponds to the gloomy Friday, the other to the cheerful 
Sunday, the sacred days of the week in commemoration of those 
great events. 

The Christian Passover naturally grew out of the Jewish 
Passover, as the Lord's Day grew out of the Sabbath ; the 
paschal lamb being regarded as a prophetic type of Christ, the 
Lamb of God slain for our sins (1 Cor. 5 : 7, 8), and the de- 
liverance from the bondage of Egypt as a type of the redemp- 
tion from sin. It is certainly the oldest and most important 
annual festival of the church, and can be traced back to the 
first century, or at all events to the middle of the second, when 
it was universally observed, though with a difference as to the 
day, and the extent of the fast connected with it. It is based 
on the view that Christ crucified and risen is the centre of faith. 
The Jewish Christians would very naturally from the beginning 
continue to celebrate the legal passover, but in the light of its 
fulfillment by the sacrifice of Christ, and would dwell chiefly 

founded with it and with the Latin passio by the Fathers, who were ignorant of 
Hebrew), but from the Hebrew HDS^ and the Chaldee KJJDS^ (comp. the-verb 
hD3^ to pass over, to spare). See Ex. chs. 12 and 13; Lev. 23: 4-9; Num. 
ch. 9. It has three meanings in the Sept. and the N. T. . 1) the paschal fes- 
tival, called " the feast of unleavened bread," and lasting from the fourteenth 
to the twentieth of Nisan, in commemoration of the sparing of the first-bora 
and the deliverance of Israel from Egypt; 2) the paschal lamb which was 
slain between the two evenings (3-5 P.M.) on the 14th of Nisan; 3) the 
paschal supper on the evening of the same day, which marked the beginning 
of the 15th of Nisan, or the first day of the festival. In the first sense it cor- 
responds to the Christian Easter-festival, as the type corresponds to the sub- 
stance. Nevertheless the translation Easter for Passover in the English ver- 
sion, Acts 12 : 4, is a strange anachronism (corrected in the Ee vision). 

1 Easter is the resurrection festival which follows the Passover proper,.but 
is included in the same festive week. The English Easter (Anglo-Saxon easier, 
efatran, G-erman Ostern) is connected with East and sunrise, and is akin to 
7J6?, oriensy awora (comp. Jac. Grimm's Deutsche Mythol. 1835, p. 181 and 349, 
and Skeat's.liifcym. Diet. E. Lang, sub Easter). The comparison of sunrise and 
the natural spring with the new moral creation in the resurrection of Christ 
and the transfer of the celebration of Ostara, the old German divinity of the 
rising, health-bringing light, to the Christian Easter festival, was easy and 
natural, because all nature is a symbol of spirit, and the heathen myths are 
clim presentiments and carnal anticipations of Christian truths. 

208 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

on the aspect of the crucifixion. The Gentile Christians, for 
whom the Jewish passover had no meaning except through 
reflection from the cross, would chiefly celebrate the Lord's 
resurrection as they did on every Sunday of the week. Easter 
formed at first the beginning of the Christian year, as the month 
of Xisaii, which contained the vernal equinox (corresponding to 
our Slarch or April), began the sacred year of the Jews. Be- 
tween the celebration of the death and the resurrection of Christ 
lay "the great Sabbath," 1 on which also the Greek church 
fasted by way of exception ; and " the Easter vigils," 2 which 
were kept, with special devotion, by the whole congregation till 
the break of day, and kept the more scrupulously, as it was 
generally believed that the Lord's glorious return would occur 
on this night. The feast of the resurrection, which completed 
the whole work of redemption, became gradually the most 
prominent part of the Christian Passover, and identical with 
Easter. But the crucifixion continued to be celebrated on what 
is called "Good Friday.' 73 

The paschal feast was preceded by a season of penitence and 
fasting, which culminated in " the holy week." * This fasting 
varied in length, in different countries, from one day or forty 
hours to six weeks ; 5 but after the fifth century, through the 

J To jufya adp3arov, r& aytov cdppaTov, Sabbatum magnum. 
TLawvxtie$< vigilice paschce, Easter Eve. Good Friday and Easter Eve were 
a continuous fast, which was prolonged till midnight or cock-crow. See Tertull. 
Ad vxor. II. 4; Euseb. H. E. VI. 34; Apost. Const. V. 18; VII. 23. 

3 Various names : wax* ffravp^uov (as distinct from it. avaardaifiov], fypa> 
eravpov, frapaaKswj ^yahj or ety/a, parasceue, feria sexto, major, Good Friday, 
Charfreiiag (from #a/wc or from carus, dear). But the celebration seems not to 
have been universal ; for Augustan says in his letter Ad Januar., that he did 
not consider this day holy. See Siegel, Handbuch der christl. kircM. Alter* 
tkumer, I. 374 sqq. 

* From Palm Sunday to Easter Eve. 'E/Stfopaf t&ydTuj, or TOV irdcxa, heb- 
domas magna, hebdomas nigra (in opposition to dominica in albis), hebdomas 
crucis, Charwoche. 

6 Irenseus, in his letter to Victor of Borne (Euseb. V. 24) : "Not only is the 
dispute respecting the day, but also respecting the manner of fasting. For 
some think that they ought to fast only one day, some two, some more 
days ; some compute their day as consisting of forty hours night and day ; and 


influence of Rome, it was universally fixed at forty days, 1 with 
reference to the forty days' fasting of Christ in the wilderness 
and the Old Testament types of that event (the fasting of Moses 
and Elijah). 2 

62. The Pasehal Controversies. 

L The sources for the paschal controversies : 

Alexandria, IEEN^EUS, and HIPPOLYTTJS, preserved in EUSEB. H.E. 
IV. 3, 26 ; V. 23-25 ; VI. 13 ; the CHEONICOX PASCH. 1. 12 sqq., a 
passage in the Philosophumena of HIPPOLYTCS, Lib. VIII. cap. 18 
(p. 435, ed. Duncker & Schneidewin, 1859), a fragment from 
ETTSEBIUS in Angelo Mai's Nova P. P. Bibl T. IV. 209-216, and the 
Hceresies of EPIPHANTUS, Hcer. LXX. 1-3 ; LXX. 9. 

II. Eecent works, occasioned mostly by the Johannean con- 
troversy : 

WEITZEL: Die OhristL Passafeier der drei ersfen Jahrh. Pforzheim, 
1848 (and in the "Studien und Kritiken," 1848, No. 4, against 

BAUR: Das Christenthum der 3 ersten Jahrh. (1853). Tub. 3rd ed. 1863, 
pp. 156-169. And several controversial essays against Steitz. 

HlLGEOTELD : Der Paschastreit und das Evang. Johannis (in " TheoL 
Jahrbucher " for 1849) ; Nock tin Wort fiber den Passalistreit (ibid. 
1858) ; and Der Paschastreit der alien Kirche naeh seiner Bedeutung 
fur die Kirchengesch. und fur die JEvangelienforschung ur&undlich 
dargestellL Halle 1860 (410 pages). 

STEITZ: Several essays on the subject, mostly against Baur, in the 

' "Studien u. Kritiken," 1856, 1857, and 1859; in the "TheoL 

Jalirbucher," 1857, and art. Passah in " Herzog's Encycl." vol. XIL 

(1859), p. 149 sqq., revised in the new ed., by Wagenmann, XL 

270 sqq. 

WILLIAM MILLIGAN* : The Easter Controversies of the second Century in 
their relation to the Gospel of St. John, in the " Contemporary Re- 
view" for Sept. 1867 (p. 101-118). 

EMIL SCHTIREB, : De Controversiis paschalibus sec. post Chr. SCBC. exortis. 
Lips, 1869. By the same : Die PascTiastreitigJceiten des 2*^ Jahrh., 

this diversity existing among those thai observe it, is not a matter that has just 
sprung up in onr times, but long ago among those before us, who perhaps not 
having ruled with sufficient strictness, established the practice that arose from 
their simplicity and ignorance." 

2 Matt. 4: 2; comp. Ex. 34: 28; 1 Kings 19: 8. 

Vnl. TT. U 

SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

in Kahilis' " Zeitschriffc fur hist Theol." 1870, pp. 182-284. Very 

full and able. 
0. Jos. vos HEFELE (R. C.) : Coneilienge&cUchte, I. 86-101 (second ed. 

Freib. 1873; with some important changes). 
ABBE DUCHESXE: La question de la Pdque, in "Revue des question* 

historiques," July 1880. 
fteAX : L'tglito chr'et. 445-461; and K Aurlle, 194r-206 (la question de 

la Pdgue). 

Respecting the time of the Christian Passover and of the 
fast connected with it, there was a difference of observance 
which created violent controversies in the ancient church, and 
almost as violent controversies in the modern schools of theology 
in connection with the questions of the primacy of Rome, and 
the genuineness of John's Gospel. 1 

The paschal controversies of the ante-Nicene age are a very 
complicated chapter in ancient church-history, and are not yet 
sufficiently cleared up. They were purely ritualistic and disci- 
plinary, and involved no dogma; and yet they threatened to split 
the churches ; both parties laying too much stress on external 
uniformity. Indirectly, however, they involved the question of 
the independence of Christianity on Judaism. 2 

Let us first consider the difference of observance or die sub- 
ject of controversy. 

The Christians of Asia Minor, following the Jewish chrono- 
logy, and appealing to the authority of the apostles John 'and 
Philip, celebrated the Christian Passover uniformly on the four- 
teenth of Nisan (which might fall on any of the seven days of 
the week) by a solemn fast; they fixed the close of the fast ac- 
cordingly, and seem to have partaken on the evening of this 
day, as the close of the fast, not indeed of the Jewish paschal 
lamb, as has sometimes been supposed/ but of the commu- 

1 See note at the end of the section. 

1 So Eenan regards the controversy, Marc-Aurfle, p. 194, as a conflict be- 
tween two kinds of Christianity, "le chj*istianisme qui Jerwi&ageait comme une 
suite dujudatinw, 9 ' and " le christianime gui jenmsageait comme la destruction du 

3 By Mosheim (De rebus chrisL ante Const. M. Corn., p. 435 sqq.) and Neander 
(in the first edition of his Church Hist , I. 518, but not in the second I. 512, 


nion and love-feast, as the Christian passover and the festi- 
val of the redemption completed by the death of Christ. 1 The 
communion on the evening of the 14th (or, according to the 
Jewish mode of reckoning, the day from sunset to sunset, on the 
beginning of the 15th) of Nisan was in memory of the last pas- 
chal supper of Christ. This observance did not exclude the 
idea that Christ died as the true paschal Lamb. For we find 
among the fathers both this idea and the other that Christ ate 
the regular Jewish passover with his disciples, which took place 
on the 14th. 2 From the day of observance the Asiatic Chris- 
tians were afterwards called Quartadecimanians* Hippolytus 
of Rome speaks of them contemptuously as a sect of contentious 
and ignorant persons, who maintain that "the pascha should be 
observed on the fourteenth day of the first month according to 
the law, no matter on what day of the week it might fall." 4 
Nevertheless the Quartadecimanian observance was probably the 
oldest and in accordance with the Synoptic tradition of the last 
Passover of our Lord, which it commemorated. 5 

Germ, ed., I, 298 in Torrey's translation). There is no trace of such a Jewish 
custom on the part of the Quartadecimani. This is admitted by Hefele (I. 
87), who formerly held to three parties in this controversy ; but there were 
only two. 

1 The celebration of the eucharist is not expressly mentioned by Eusebius, 
but may be inferred. He says (H. E. V. 23): "The churches of all Asia, 
guided by older tradition (c SK Trapa66uo$ apxtuorepas, older than that of 
Rome), thought that they were bound to keep the fourteenth day of the moon, 
on (or at the time of) the feast of the Saviour's Passover (eirl r^f TOV cunjpiav 
irdff%a toprifg), that day on which the Jews were commanded to kill the paschal 
lamb ; it being incumbent on them by all means to regulate the close of the 
fast by that day on whatever day of the week it might happen to fall." 

2 Justin M. Dial. c. Ill; Iren. Adv. Hcer. II. 22, 3; Tert. De Bapt. 19; 
Origen, In Matih.; Epiph. Hcer. XLIL St. Paul first declared Christ to be 
our passover (1 Cor. 5:7), and yet his companion Luke, with whom his own 
account of the institution of the Lord's Supper agrees, represents Christ's 
passover meal as taking place on the 14th. 

8 The *<5'=14, qwrta decima. See Ex. 12 : 6 ; Lev. 23 : 5, where this day 
is prescribed for the celebration of the Passover. Hence TtEffcrapecKaideKaTtrai, 
Qwrtodeeimani, more correctly Quartadecimani. This sectarian name occurs 
in the canons of the councils of Laodicea, 364, Constantinople, 381, etc. 

* Philosoph. or Rejutat. ofaUHceres. VIII. 18. 

5 So also Eenan regards it, L'eqL chrft^ p, 445 sq.. but he brings it, like 

212 SECOND PEBIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

The Roman church, on the contrary, likewise appealing 10 
early custom, celebrated the death of Jesus always on a Friday, 
the day of the week on which it actually occurred, and bis 
resurrection always on a Sunday after the March full moon, 
and extended the paschal fast to the latter day ; considering it 
improper to terminate the fast at an earlier date, and to celebrate 
the communion before the festival of the resurrection. Nearly 
all the other churches agreed with the Roman in this observance, 
and laid the main stress on the resurrection-festival on Sunday. 
This Roman practice created an entire holy week of solemn 
fasting and commemoration of the Lord's passion, while the 
Asiatic practice ended the fast on the 14th of Nisan, which may 
fall sometimes several days before Sunday. 

Hence a spectacle shocking to the catholic sense of ritualistic 
propriety and uniformity was frequently presented to the world, 
that one part of Christendom was fasting and mourning over 
the death of our Saviour, while the other part rejoiced in the 
glory of the resurrection. "W r e cannot be surprised that contro- 
versy arose, and earnest efforts were made to harmonize the op- 
posing sections of Christendom in the public celebration of the 
fundamental facts of the Christian salvation and of the most 
sacred season of the church-year- 

The gist of the paschal controversy was, whether the Jewish 
paschal-day (be it a Friday or not), or the Christian Sunday, 
should control the idea and time of the entire festival. The 
Johannean practice of Asia represented here the spirit of adhe- 
sion to historical precedent, and had the advantage of an im- 
movable Easter, without being Judaizing in anything but the 
observance of a fixed day of the month. The Roman custom 
represented the principle of freedom and discretionary change, 
and the independence of the Christian festival system. Dog- 
matically stated, the difference would be, that in the former case 
the chief stress was laid on the Lord's death in the latter ; on 
his resurrection. But the leading interest of the question for 

Baur, in conflict with the chronology of the fourth Gospel. He traces the 
"Roman custom from the pontificate of Xystus and Telesphorus, A.B. 120. 


the *aarly Church was not the astronomical, nor the dogmatical, 
but the ritualistic. The main object was to secure uniformity 
of observance, and to assert the originality of the Christian fes- 
tive cycle, and its independence of Judaism; for both reasons 
the Roman usage at last triumphed even in the East. Hence 
Easter became a movable festival whose date varies from the 
end of "March to the latter part of April. 

The history of the controversy divides itself into three acts. 

1. The difference came into discussion first on a visit of Poly- 
carp, bishop of Smyrna, to Anicetus, bishop of Rome, between 
A.D. 150 and 155. 1 It was not settled; yet the two bishops 
parted in peace, after the latter had charged his venerable guest 
to celebrate the holy communion in his church. We have a 
brief, but interesting account of this dispute by Irenseus, a pupil 
of Polycarp, which is as follows: 2 

" When the blessed Polycarp sojourned at Rome in the days of Anice- 
tus, and they had some little difference of opinion likewise with regard 
to other points, 3 they forthwith came to a peaceable understanding on 
this head [the observance of Easter], having no love for mutual disputes. 
For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe* inasmuch 
as he [Pol.] had always observed with John, the disciple of our Lord, and 
the other apostles, with whom he had associated ; nor did Polycarp per- 
suade Anicetus to observe (TTJPEIV), who said that he was bound to main- 
tain the custom of the presbyters (= bishops) before him. These things 
being so, they communed together 5 and in the church Anicetus yielded 
to Polycarp, out of respect no doubt, the celebration of the eucharist 
(rrjv evxapurriav), and they separated from each other in peace, all the 
church being at peace, both those that observed and those that did not 
observe [the fourteenth of Nisan], maintaining peace." 

This letter proves that the Christians of the days of Polycarp 

1 Benan (I c., p. 447) conjectures that Irenseus and Florinus accompanied 
Polycarp on that journey to Borne. Neander and others give a wrong date, 
162, Polycarp died in 155, see ? 19, p. 51. The pontificate of Anicetus began 
in 154 or before. 

2 In a fragment of a letter to the Boman bishop Victor, preserved by Ense- 
bius, H. E. V. c. 24 (ed. Heinichen, I. 253). 

8 Kal irept aM,uv TLV&V [UKpa <7#<5vr f (or exovrsc) ^pof akMjtove. 

4 pft TJjpelY, i. e. the fourteenth of Nisan, as appears from the connection and 
from ch. 23. The rrjpslv consisted mainly in fasting, and probably also the 
celebration of the eucharist in the evening. It was a technical term for legal 
observances, comp. John 9: 16. 

214 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

knew how to keep the unity of the Spirit without uniformity 
of rites and ceremonies. " The very difference in our fasting/' 
says Irenseus in the same letter, "establishes the unanimity in 
our faith." 

2. A few years afterwards, about A.D. 170, the controversy 
broke out in Laodicea, but was confined to Asia, where a differ- 
ence had arisen either among the Quartadeeimanians them- 
selves, or rather among these and the adherents of the Western 
observance. The accounts on this interimistic sectional dispute 
are incomplete and obscure. Eusebius merely mentions that at 
that time Melito of Sardis wrote two works on the Passover. 1 
But these are lost, as also that of Clement of Alexandria on the 
same topic. 2 Our chief source of information is Claudius 
Apolinarius (Apollinaris), 3 bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia, in 
two fragments of his writings upon the subject, which have been 
preserved in the Chronicon PffW^fc. 4 These are as follows : 

u There are some now who, from ignorance, loye to raise strife about 
these things, being guilty in this of a pardonable offence; for ignorance 
does not so much deserve blame as nssd instruction. And they say 
that on the fourteenth [of Nisan] the Lord ate the paschal lamb (rb 
irp6parov E<fKrye) with his disciples, but i&at He himself suffered on the 
great day of unleavened bread 5 [i. e. the fifteenth of Nisan] ; and they 
interpret Matthew as favoring their view : from which it appears tha* 
their view does not agree with the law, 6 and t*i*t the Gospels seew, ac* 
cording to them, to be at variance." * 

1 H. E. IV. 26. 

* With the exception of a few fragments in the Cbrpwwi Pwj&ale. 

* Ensebius spells his name ' Anofavdptoe (IV. 21 and 26, 27, see Heinichen'0 
ed.) ; and so do Photius, and the Ohron. Paschale in most MSS. But the Latins 
spell his name ApoUinaris. He lived under Marcus Aurelius (161-180), was 
apologist and opponent of Montanism which flourished especially in Phrygia, 
and must not be confounded with one of the two Apollinarius or AjDollinaris, 
father and son, of Laodicea in Syria, who flourished in the fourth century. 

* Ed. Dindorf 1. 13 ; in Bouth's BeUquice Sacra I. p. 160. Quoted and dis- 
cussed by Milligan, /. c. p. 109 sq. 

* If this is the genuine Quartadecimanian view, it proves conclusively that 
it agreed with the Synoptic chronology as to the day of Christ's death, and that 
Weiteel and Steitz are wrong on this point. 

* Since according to the view of Apolinarius, Christ as the true niLfillmsnt o* 
the law, must have died on the 14th, the day of the legal passover. 

7 This seems to be the meaning of oracLa&iv fowl, w^ avrovg, 


" The fourteenth is the true Passover of the Lord, the great sacrifice, the 
Bon of God 1 in the place of the lamb .... who was lifted up upon the 
horns of the unicorn .... and who was buried on the day of the Pass- 
over, the stone having been placed upon his tomb." 

. Here Apolinarius evidently protests against the Quartadeci- 
manian practice, yet simply as one arising from ignorance, and 
not as a blameworthy heresy. He opposes it as a chronological 
and exegetical mistake, and seems to hold that the fourteenth, 
and not the fifteenth, is the great day of the death of Christ as 
the true Lamb of God, on the false assumption that this truth 
depends upon the chronological coincidence of the crucifixion 
and the Jewish passover. But the question arises : Did he pro- 
test from the Western and Roman standpoint which had many 
advocates in the East, 2 or as a Quartadecimanian? 3 In the 
latter case we would be obliged to distinguish two parties of 
Quartadecimanians, the orthodox or catholic Quartadecimanians, 
who simply observed the 14th Nisan by fasting and the evening 
communion, and a smaller faction of heretical and schismatic 
Quartadecimanians, who adopted the Jewish practice of eating 
a paschal lamb on that day in commemoration of the Saviour's 
last passover. But there is no evidence for this distinction in 
the above or other passages. Such a grossly Judaizing party 
would have been treated with more severity by a catholic bishop. 
Even the Jews could no more eat of the paschal lamb after the 
destruction of the temple in which it had to be slain. There is 
no trace of such a party in Irenseus, Hippolytus 4 and Eusebius 
who speak only of one class of Quartadecimanians. 5 

iTiter se pugncvre, etc. On the assumption namely that John fixes the death of 
Christ on the fourteenth of Nisan, which, however, is a point in dispute. The 
opponents who started from the chronology of the Synoptists, could retort this 

1 The same argument is urged in the fragments of Hippolytus in the Chroni- 
con Paschale. But that Jesus was the true Paschal Lamb is a doctrine in 
which all the churches were agreed. 

So Baur (p. 163 sq.) and the Tubingen School rightly maintain. 

* As Weitzel, Steitz, and Lechler assume in opposition to Baur. 

4 In the passage of the Phttosoph. above quoted, and in the fragments of the 
Paschal Chronicle. 

6 Epiphanius, it is true, distinguishes different opinions among the Quart* 

216 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Hence we conclude that Apolinarius protests against the whole 
Quartadecimanian practice, although very mildly and charitably 
The Laodicean controversy was a stage in the same controversy 
which was previously discussed by Polycarp and Anicetus ID 
Christian charity, and was soon agitated again by Polycrates and 
Victor with hierarchical and intolerant violence. 

3. Much more important and vehement was the third stage 
of the controversy between 190 and 194, which extended over 
the whole church, and occasioned many synods and synodical 
letters. 1 The Eoman bishop Victor, a very different man from 
his predecessor Anicetus, required the Asiatics, in an imperious 
tone, to abandon their Quartadecimanian practice. Against this 
Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, solemnly protested in the name 
of a synod held by him, and appealed to an imposing array 'of 
authorities for their primitive custom. Eusebius has preserved 
his letter, which is quite characteristic. 

" We" wrote the Ephesian bishop to the Eoman pope and his church, 
*' We observe the genuine day; neither adding thereto nor taking there- 
from. For in Asia great lights 2 have fallen asleep, which shall rise 
again in the day of the Lord's appearing, in which he will come with 
glory from heaven, and will raise up all the saints : Philip, one of the 
twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin 
daughters; his other daughter, also, who having lived under the in- 
fluence of the Holy Spirit, now likewise rests in Ephesus ; moreover f 
John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord, 3 who was also a priest, 
and bore the sacerdotal plate, 4 both a martyr and teacher; he is buried 
in Ephesus. Also Polycarp of Smyrna, both bishop and martyr, and 
Thraseas, both bishop and martyr of Eumenia, who sleeps in Smyrna. 
Why shonld I mention Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who sleeps in 
Laodicea; moreover, the blessed Papirius, and Melito, the eunuch 

decimanians (Seer. L. cap. 1-3 Contra Qwrfa^imanas), but he makes no 
mention of the practice of eating a Paschal Iamb, or of any difference in this 
chronology of the death of Christ. 
1 Eosebius, JZ E^ V. 23-25. 

orotxtia in the sense of stars used Ep. ad Diog. 7; Justin Dial c. 
23 (r& avpdvia 

6 knl rb ory&of row tcvptov avairtc&v. Comp. John 13 : 25 ; 21: 20. This 
designation, as Eenan admits (Mm-AurtHe, p. 196, note 2), implies that Poly- 
crates acknowledged the Gos?* 1 of John as genuine. 
* rd fffrcOw. Cs this fib^c/ar expression, which is probably figure K- foi 
holiness, see voL L p 431, z^e 1. 


[celibate], who lived altogether under the influence of the Holy Spirit, 
who now rests in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, in which 
he shall rise from the dead. All these observed the fourteenth day of the 
passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the 
rule of faith. 

" Moreover, I, Polycrates, who am the least of you, according to the 
tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have followed. For seven of 
my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth ; and my relatives always 
observed the day when the people of the Jews threw away the leaven, 
I, therefore, brethren, am now sixty-five years in the Lord, who having 
conferred with the brethren throughout the world, and having studied 
the whole of the Sacred Scriptures, am not at all alarmed at those things 
with which I am threatened, to intimidate me. For they who are 
greater than I have said, * we ought to obey God rather than men.' .... 
I could also mention the bishops that were present, whom you requested 
me to summon, and whom I did call; whose names would present a 
great number, but who seeing my slender body consented to my epistle, 
well knowing that I did not wear my gray hairs for nour? ^ut that I 
did at all times regulate my life in the Lord Jesus." ' 

Victor turned a deaf ear to this remonstrance, Drauded . ae 
Asiatics as heretics, and threatened to excommunicate them. 2 

But many of the Eastern bishops, and even Irenseus, in the 
name of the Gallic Christians, though he agreed with Victor on 
the disputed point, earnestly reproved him for such arrogance, 
and reminded him of the more Christian and brotherly conduct 
of his predecessors Anicetus, Pius, Hyginus, Telesphorus, and 
Xystus, who sent the eucharist to their dissenting brethren* 
He dwelt especially on the fraternal conduct of Anicetus to 
Polycarp. Irenseus proved himself on this occasion, as Eusebius 
remarks, a true peacemaker, and his vigorous protest seems to 
have prevented the schism. 

We have from the same Irenseus another utterance on this 
controversy,^ saying: "Thu apostles have ordered that we 
should 'judge no one in meat or in drink, or in respect to a 
feast-day or a new moon or a sabbath day 3 (Col. 2: 16). 
Whence then these wars ? Whence these schisms ? We keep 
the feasts, but in the leaven of malice by tearing the church of 

1 Enseb. Y. 24 (ed. Heinichen, I. p. 250 sqq). 

2 He is probably the author of the pseudo-Cyprianic homily against dice- 
players (De Aleatoribus), which assumes the tone of a papal encyclical. 

* In the third Fragment discovered by P&ff, probably from his book against 
Blastus. See Opera, ad. Stieren, I. 887. 

218 SECOND PEBI01X A.B 100-311. 

God and observing what is outward, in order to reject what 
is better, faith and charity. That such feasts and fasts are 
displeasing to the Lord, we have heard from the Prophets." 
A truly evangelical sentiment from one who echoes the teaching 
of St. John and his last words : " Children, love one another/ 3 

4. In the course of the third century the Eoman practice 
gained ground everywhere in the East, and, to anticipate the 
result, was established by the council of Nicsea in 325 as the law 
of the whole church. This council considered it unbecoming in 
Christians to follow the usage of the unbelieving, hostile Jews, 
and ordained that Easter should always be celebrated on the first 
Sunday after the first full moon succeeding the vernal equinox 
(March 21), and always after the Jewish passover. 1 If the full 
moon occurs on a Sunday, Easter-day is the Sunday after. By 
this arrangement Easter may take place as early as March 22, 
or as late as April 25. 

Henceforth the Quartadecimanians were universally regarded 
as heretics, and were punished as such. The Synod of Antioch, 
341, excommunicated them. The Montanists and Novatians 
were also charged with the Quartadecimanian observance. The 
last traces of it disappeared in the sixth century. 

But the desired uniformity in the observance of Easter was 
still hindered by differences in reckoning the Easter Sunday ac- 
cording to the course of the moon and the vernal equinox, which 
the Alexandrians fixed on the 21st of March, and the Romans 
on the 18th; so that in the year 387, for example, the Eomans 
kept Easter on the 21st of March, and the Alexandrians not till 
the 25th of April. In the West also the computation changed 

1 In the Synodical letter which the fathers of Nicsea addressed to the 
churches of Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis (Socrates, H. K I. c. 9), it is said: 
" We have also gratifying intelligence to communicate to you relating to the 
unity of judgment on the subject of the most holy feast of Easter; .... that 
all the brethren in the East who have heretofore kept this festival at the same 
time as the Jews, will henceforth conform to the Eomans and to us, and to all 
who from the earliest time have observed our period of celebrating Easter." 
Eusebius reports (Vita Const. III. 19) that especially the province of Asia 
acknowledged the decree. He thinks that only God and the emperor Con- 
stantine could remove this evil of two conflicting celebrations of Easter. 


and caused a renewal of the Easter controversy in the sixth and 
seventh centuries. The old British, Irish and Scotch Christians, 
and the Irish missionaries on the Continent adhered to the older 
cycle of eighty-four years in opposition to the later luonysian 
or Eoman cycle of ninety-five years, and hence were styled 
"Quartadecinmnians" by their Anglo-Saxon and Roman oppo- 
nents, though unjustly; for they celebrated Easter always on a 
Sunday between the 14th and the 20th of the month (the Eo- 
mans between the 15th and 21st). The Roman practice tri- 
umphed. But Rome again changed the calendar under Gregory 
XIII. (A. D. 1583). Hence even to this day the Oriental 
churches who hold to the Julian and reject the Gregorian 
calendar, differ from the Occidental Christians in the time of 
the observance of Easter. 

All these useless ritualistic disputes might have been avoided 
if, with some modification of the old Asiatic practice as to the 
close of the fast, Easter, like Christmas, had been made an im- 
movable feast at least as regards the week, if not the day, of its 


The bearing of this controversy on the Johannean origin of the fourth 
Gospel has been greatly overrated by the negative critics of the Tubingen 
School. Dr. Baur, Schwegler, Hilgenfeld, Straus (Leben Jesu, new ed. 
1864, p. 76 sq.), Schenkel, Scholten, Samuel Davidson, Benan (Marc- 
Aurlle, p. 196), use it as a fatal objection to the Johannean authorship. 
Their argument is this : "The Asiatic practice rested on the belief that 
Jesus ate the Jewish Passover with his disciples on the evening of the 14th 
of Nisan, and died on the 15th ; this belief is incompatible with the fourth 
Gospel, which puts 1ihe death of Jesus, as the true Paschal Lamb, on the 
14th of Nisan, just before the regular Jewish Passover; therefore the 
fourth Gospel cannot have existed when the Easter controversy first 
broke out about A. D. 160 ; or, at all events, it cannot be the work of John 
to whom the, Asiatic Christians so confidently appealed for their paschal 

But leaving out of view the early testimonies for the authenticity of 
John, which reach back to the first quarter of the second century, the 
minor premise is wrong, and hence the conclusion falls. A closer exam- 
ination of the relevant passages of John leads to the result that he agrees 
with the Synoptic account, which puts the last Supper on the 14th, and 

220 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

the crucifixion on the 15th of Nisan. (Coinp. ou this chronological dii 
ficulty vol. 1. 133 sqq. ; and the authorities quoted there, especially 
Lightibot, Wieseler, Eobinson, Lange, Kirchner, and McClellan.) 

Weilzel, Steitz, and Wagenmann deny the inference of the Tiibinger 
School by disputing the major premise, and argue that the Asiatic obser 
vance (in agreement with the Tubingen school and their own interpreta- 
tion of John's chronology ) implies that Christ died as the true pascal 
lamb on the 14th, and not on the loth of Nisan. To this view we object: 
1) It conflicts with the extract from Apolinarius in the Chronicot 
Paschale as given p. 214 2) There is no contradiction between the idea 
that Christ died as the true paschal lamb, and the Synoptic chronology; 
for the former was taught by Paul (1 Cor. 5:7), who was quoted for the 
Eoman practice, and both were held by the fathers ; the coincidence in 
the time being subordinate to the fact. 3) A contradiction in the primi- 
tive tradition of Christ's death is extremely improbable, and it is much 
easier to conform the Johannean chronology to the Synoptic than vice 

It seems to me that the Asiatic observance of the 14th of Nisan was in 
commemoration of the last passover of the Lord, and this of necessity 
implied also a commemoration of his death, like every celebration of the 
Lord's Supper. In any case, however, these ancient paschal controver- 
sies did not hinge on the chronological question or the true date of 
Christ's death at all, but on the week-day and the manner cf its annual 
observance. The question was whether the paschal communion should 
be celebrated on the 14th of Nisan, or on the Sunday of the resurrection 
festival, without regard to the Jewish chronology. 

63. Pentecost. 

Easter was followed by the festival of PENTECOST. 1 It 
rested on the Jewish feast of harvest. It was universally ob- 
served, as early as the second century, in commemoration of the 
appearances and heavenly exaltation of the risen Lord, and had 
throughout a joyous character. It lasted through fifty days 
Q&inquagesima which were celebrated as a continuous Sunday, 
by daily communion, the standing posture in prayer, and the 
absence of all fasting. Tertullian says that all the festivals of 
the heathen put together will not make up the one Pentecost of 

J$p&pa), Quin^uagesima, is the fiftieth day after the Passover 
Sabbath, see vol. L 225 sqq. It is used by the fathers in a wider sense for the 
whole period of fifty days, from Easter to Whitsunday, and in a narrower sense 
"or the single festival of Whitsunday. 

\ 61 THE EPIPHANY. 221 

the Christians. 1 During that period the Acts of the Apostles 
were read in the public service (and are read to this day in the 
Greek church). 

Subsequently the celebration was limited to the fortieth day 
as the feast of the Ascension, and the fiftieth day, or Pentecost 
proper (Whitsunday) as the feast of the outpouring of the Holy 
Spirit and the birthday of the Christian Church. In this re- 
stricted sense Pentecost closed the cycle of our Lord's festivals 
(the semestre Domini), among which it held the third place 
(after Easter and Christmas). 2 It was also a favorite time for 
baptism, especially the vigil of the festival* 

64. The Epiphany. 

The feast of the EPIPHANY is of later origin, 3 It spread 
from the East towards the Vest, but here, even in the fourth 
century, it was resisted by such parties as the Donatists, and 
condemned as an oriental innovation. It was, in general, the 
feast of the appearance of Christ in the flesh, and particularly 
of the manifestation of his Messiahship by his baptism in the 
Jordan, the festival at once of his birth and his baptism. It- 
was usually kept on the 6th of January. When the East 
adopted from the West the Christmas festival, Epiphany was 
restricted to the celebration of the baptism of Christ, and made 
one of the three great reasons for the administration of baptism. 

In the West it was afterwards made a collective festival of 
several events in the life of Jesus, as the adoration of the Magi, 
the first miracle of Cana, and sometimes the feeding of the five 

i De Idol c. 12 ; comp. De Bapt. c. 19 ; Const. Apost. V. 20. 

3 In this sense Pentecoste is first used by the Council of Elvira (Granada) 
A. D. 306, can. 43. The week following was afterwards called Hebdomada* 
Spiritus Sancti. 

3 il iirtQ&veta, r& hriQdvta, y tieofdveia, faepa TQV Q&rovi Epiphanic^ 
Theophania, Dies laminum, Festum Trium Regum, etc. The feast is first men- 
tioned by Clement of Alex, as the annual commemoration of trie baptism of 
Christ by the Gnostic sect of the Basilidians (Strom. I. 21). Neander supposes 
that they derived it from the Jewish Christians in Palestine. Chrysostom 
often alludes to it. 

Augustin, Serm. 202, 2. 

222 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

thousand. It became more particularly the " feast of the threo 
kings," that is, the wise men from the East, and was placed in 
special connexion with the mission to the heathen. The legend 
of the three kings (Caspar, Melchior, Baltazar) grew up gradu- 
ally from the recorded gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, 
which the Magi offered to the new-born King of the Jews. 1 

Of the CHRISTMAS festival there is no clear trace before the 
fourth century ; partly because the feast of the Epiphany in a 
measure held the place of it; partly because the birth of Christ, 
the date of which, at any rate, was uncertain, was less promi- 
nent in the Christian mind than his death and resurrection. It 
was of Western (Eoman) origin, and found its way to the East 
after the middle of the fourth century ; for Chrysostom, in a 
Homily, which was probably preached Dec. 25, 386, speaks of 
the celebration of the separate day of the Nativity as having 
been recently introduced in Antioch. 

65. The Order of Public Worship. 

The earliest description of the Christian worship is given us 
by a heathen, the younger Pliny, A. D. 109; in his well-known 
letter to Trajan, which embodies the result of his judicial in- 
vestigations in Bithynia. 2 According to this, the Christians 
assembled on an appointed day (Sunday) at sunrise, sang respon- 
sively a song to Christ as to God, 3 and then pledged themselves 
by an oath (sacramentum) not to do any evil work, to commit 
no theft, robbery, nor adultery, not to break their word, nor 
sacrifice property intrusted to them. Afterwards (at evening) 
they assembled again, to eat ordinary and innocent food (the 

This account of a Eoman official then bears witness to the 

i Matt 2 : 11. The first indistinct trace, perhaps, is in Tertullian, Adv. Jud. 
c. 9 : Nam et Magos reges fere habuit Oriens." The apocryphal Gospels of the 
infancy give us no fiction on that point. 

8 Comp. \ 17, p. 46, and G. Boissier, De Fauthenticite de la kttre de Pline au 
lujet des Chretiens, in the " Revue Arche*oL," 1876, p. 114r-125. 

s " Quod essent soliti stato die ante lucem convenire, carm&nque Cftnsto, quart 
Deo, dicere secum invicem." 


primitive observance of Sunday, the separation of the love-feast 
from the morning worship (with the communion), and the wor- 
ship of Christ as God in song. 

Justin Martyr, at the close of his larger Apology, 1 describes 
the public worship more particularly, as it was conducted about 
the year 140. After giving a full account of baptism and the 
holy Supper, to which we shall refer again, he continues : 

" On Sunday 2 a meeting of all, who live in the cities and 
villages, is held, and a section from the Memoirs of the Apostles 
(the Gospels) and the writings of the Prophets (the Old Testa- 
ment) is read, as long as the time permits. 3 When the reader 
has finished, the president, 4 in a discourse, gives an exhortation 5 
to the imitation of these noble things. After this we all rise in 
common prayer. 6 At the close of the prayer, as we have before 
described/ bread and wine with water are brought. The presi- 
dent offers prayer and thanks for them, according to the power 
given him, 8 and the congregation responds the Amen. Then 
the consecrated elements are distributed to each one, and par- 
taken, and are carried by the deacons to the houses of the absent. 
The wealthy and the willing then give contributions according 
to their free will, and this collection is deposited with the 
president, who therewith supplies orphans and widows, poor 

1 Apol I. c. 65-67 (Opera, ed. Otto IK Tom. I. P. 1. 177-188). The passage 
quoted is from ch. 67. 
8 TV TOT) * 

4 *0 7rp0<jr<yc, the presiding presbyter or bishop. 
6 Tijv vov&taiav Kal Trap&K^ijatv. 

6 Ei^3f irefMTrofjLev, preces ernittimus, 

7 Chap. 65. 

8 *Qaij Sbvaw avry, fchat is probably pro viribus, quantum potesi; or like 
Tertullian's " de pectore " and " ex proprio ingenio" Others translate wrongly : 
lotis viribus, with all his might, or with a clear, loud voice, Comp. Otto, I. c. 
187. The passages, however, in no case contain any opposition to forms of 
prayer which were certainly in use already at that time, and familiar without 
book to every worshipper ; above all the Lord's Prayer. The whole liturgical 
literature of the fourth and fifth centuries presupposes a much older liturgical 
tradition. The prayers in the eighth book of the Apost. Constitutions ar* 
probably among the oldest portions of the work, 

224 SECOND PERIOD. A D. 100-311. 

and needy, prisoners and strangers, and takes care of all who 
are in want. We assemble in common on Sunday, oecause this 
is the first day, on which God created the world and the light, 
and because Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from 
the dead and appeared to his disciples." 

Here, reading of the Scriptures, preaching (and that as an 
episcopal function), prayer, and communion., plainly appear as 
the regular parts of the Sunday worship ; all descending, no 
doubt, from the apostolic age. Song is not expressly mentioned 
here, but elsewhere. 1 The communion is not yet clearly separated 
from the other parts of worship. But this was done towards 
the end of the second century. 

The same parts of worship are mentioned in different placei 
by Tertullian. 2 

The eighth book of the Apostolical Constitutions contains 
already an elaborate service with sundry liturgical prayers. 3 

66. Parts of Worship. 

Testament with practical application and exhortation passed 
from the Jewish synagogue to the Christian church. The 
lessons from the New Testament came prominently into use as 
the Gospels and Epistles took the place of the oral instruction 
of the apostolic age. The reading of the Gospels is expressly 
mentioned by Justin Martyr, and the Apostolical Constitutions 
add the Epistles and the Acts. 4 During the Pentecostal season 
the Acts of the Apostles furnished the lessons. But there was 
no uniform system of selection before the Nicene age. Besides 
the canonical Scripture, post-apostolic writings, as the Epistle of 
Clement of Rome, the Epistle of Barnabas, and the Pastor of 
Hennas, were read in some congregations, and are found in 

1 Cap. 13. Justin himself wrote a book entitled ^d/lr^. 

* See the passages quoted by Otto, I c. 184 sq. 

8 B. VIII. 3 sqq. Also VTL 33 sqq. See translation in the " Ante-Nicene 
Library," vol. XVII, P. II. 191 saa. and 212 sqq. 

* BE, VIL 5. 

2 66. PABTS OF WORSHIP. 225 

important MSS. of the New Testament 1 The Acts of Martyrs 
were also read on the anniversary of their martyrdom. 

2. The SERMON 2 was a familiar exposition of Scripture and 
exhortation to repentance and a holy life, and gradually assumed 
in the Greek church an artistic, rhetorical character. Preaching 
was at first free to every member who had the gift of public 
speaking, but was gradually confined as an exclusive privilege of 
the clergy, and especially the bishop. Origen was called upon 
to preach before his ordination, but this was even then rather 
an exception. The oldest known homily, now recovered in full 
(1875), is from an unknown Greek or Eoman author of the 
middle of the second century, probably before A.D. 140 (for- 
merly ascribed to Clement of Rome). He addresses the hearers 
as "brothers" and " sisters/' and read from manuscript. 3 The 
homily has no literary value, and betrays confusion and intel- 
lectual poverty, but is inspired by moral earnestness and tri- 
umphant faith. It closes with this doxology: "To the only 
God invisible, the Father of truth, who sent forth unto us the 
Saviour and Prince of immortality, through whom also He 
made manifest unto us the truth and the heavenly life, to Him 
j>e the glory forever and ever. Amen." 4 

3. PRAYER. This essential part of all worship passed like- 

1 The Ep. of Clemens in the Codex Alexandrinus (A) ; Barnabas and Her- 
mas in the Cod Sinaiticus. 

2 'QfuMdj arfyof, sermo, tractatus. 

3 19, avayiv&aia> fyiv. But the homily may have first heen delivered 
extempore, and taken down hy short-hand writers (ra^y/wfow, notara). See 
Lightfoot, p. 306. 

4 Ed. by Bryennios (1875), and in the Pair. Apost. ed. by de Gebhardt and 
Harnack, I. 111-143. A good translation by Lightfoot, S. Clement of JSoww, 
Appendix, 380-390. Lightfoot says: ' If the first Epistle of Clement is the 
earliepJt foreshadowing of a Christian liturgy, the so called Second Epistle is 
the fij^st example of a Christian homily." He thinks that the author was a, 
bishop; I Harnack, that he was a layman, as he seems to distinguish himself 
fromth$ presbyters. Lightfoot assigns him to Corinth, and explains in this 
way tbe fact that the homily was bound up with the letter of Clement to the 
Corindiians ; while Harnack ably maintains the Roman origin from the time 
andjarcle of Hermas. Bryennios ascribes it to Clement of Rome (which is 
qu'lieimpossible), ffilgenfeld to Clement of Alexandria (which is equally 

Vol. II. 15- 

226 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

wise from the Jewish into the Christian service. The oldest 
prayers of post-apostolic times are the eucharistic thanksgivings in 
the Didache, and the intercession at the close of Clement's Epistle 
to the Corinthians, which seems to have been used in the Eoman 
church. 1 It is long and carefully composed, and largely inter- 
woven with passages from the Old Testament. It begins with 
an elaborate invocation of God in antithetical sentences, contains 
intercession for the afflicted, the needy, the wanderers, and pris- 
oners, petitions for the conversion of the heathen, a confession 
of sin and prayer for pardon (but without a formula of absolu- 
tion), and closes with a prayer for unity and a doxology. Very 
touching is the prayer for rulers then so hostile to the Chris- 
tians, that God may grant them health, peace, concord and sta- 
bility. The document has a striking resemblance to portions of 
the ancient liturgies which begin to appear in the fourth century, 
but bear the names of Clement, James and Mark, and probably 
include some primitive elements. 2 

The last book of the Apostolical Constitutions contains the 
pseudo- or post-Clementine liturgy, with special prayers for 
believers, catechumens, the possessed, the penitent, and even for 
the dead, and a complete eucharistic service. 3 

The usual posture in prayer was standing with outstretched 
arms in Oriental fashion. 

4. SONG. The Church inherited the psalter from the syna- 
gogue, and has used it in all ages as an inexhaustible treasury 
of devotion. The psalter is truly catholic in its spirit and aim ; 
it springs from the deep fountains of the human heart in its 
secret communion with God, and gives classic expression to the 

l Ad Cor. ch. 59-61, discovered and first published by Bryennios, 1875. We 
give Clement's prayer below, p. 228 s-j. The prayers of the Didache (chs. 9 
and 10), brought to light by Bryeuni s, 1883, are still older, and breaifee the 
spirit of primitive simplicity. See 68. 

2 See vol. III. 517 sqq., and add to the literature there quoted, PRO^T (R. 
C.), Die Liturgie der 3 ersten Jahrh., Tub., 1870 ; C. A. HAMMOND, .indent 
JLUurgies (with introduction, notes, and liturgical glossary), Oxford and >Lond 

9 Ap. Const., Bk> YIJL, also in the liturgical collections of Daniel, 
Hammond, eta 

8 66. PARTS OF WOESHIP. 227 

jeligious experience of all men in every age and tongue. This 
is the best proof of its inspiration. Nothing like it can be 
found in all the poetry of heathendom. The psalter was first 
enriched by the inspired hymns which saluted the birth of the 
Saviour of the world, the Magnificat of Mary, the Benedivtus of 
Zacharias, the Gloria in Hxcelsis of the heavenly host, and the 
Nunc Dimittis of the aged Simeon. These hymns passed as 
once into the service of the Church, to resound throi^- ^1! suc- 
cessive centuries, as things of beauty which are "a joy forever.* 
Traces of primitive Christian poems can be found throughout 
the Epistles and the Apocalypse. The angelic anthem (Luke 
2 : 14) was expanded into the Gloria in Excdsis, first in the 
Greek church, in the third, if not the second, century, and after- 
wards in the Latin, and was used as the morning hymn. 1 It is 
one of the classical forms of devotion, like the Latin Te Deum 
of later date. The evening hymn of the Greek church is less 
familiar and of inferior merit. 
The following is a free translation : 

"Hail ! cheerful Light, of His pure glory poured, 

Who is tli* Immortal Fattier, Heavenly, Blesfy 
Holiest of Holies Jesus Christ our Lord 1 

Now are we come to the Sun's hour of rest, 
The lights of Evening round us shine, 
We sing the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Divine! 

Worthiest art Thou at all times, to be sung 

With undefiled tongue, 
Son of our God, Giver of Life alone ! 
Therefore, in all the world, Thy glories, Lord, we own. "* 

* Const. Apost. lib. VH. 47. Also in Daniel's Thesaurus Hymnol., torn. HI, 
p. 4, where it is called vpvog iu$tv6$ (as in Cod. Alex.), and commences: 
Ada ev injjiffTo^ Qsu. Comp. Tom. IL 268 sqq. It is also called hymnus angel- 
icu$, while the Ter Sanctus (from Isa. 6: 3) came afterwards to be distinguished 
a^mnus seraphieus. Daniel ascribes the former to the third century, Bouth 
to- second. It is found with slight variations at the end of the Alexandrian 
Coo^ 5 of the Bible (in the British Museum), and in the Zurich Psalter re- 
print by Tischendorf in his Monvmenfa Sacra. The Latin form is usually 
traced to Hilary of Poictiers in the fourth century. 
2 Daniel, I c. vol. HI. p. 5. Comp. in part Const. Ap. VHL 37. 
or v/ivof row toxyuwv* commences: 

$5f i'Aapbv tyiag 66&e t 
'A&avfcov ffarpoc ovpavtov. 

228 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

An author towards the close of the second century l could 
appeal against the Artemonites, to a multitude of hymns in 
proof of the faith of the church in the divinity of Christ: 
" How many psalms and odes of the Christians are there not, 
which have been written from the beginning by believers, and 
which, in their theology, praise Christ as the Logos of God?" 
Tradition says, that the antiphonies, or responsive songs, were 
introduced by Ignatius of Antioch. The Gnostics, Valentine 
and Bardesanes, also composed religious songs ; and the church 
surely learned the practice not from them, but from the Old 
Testament psalms. 

The oldest Christian poem preserved to us which can be traced 
to an individual author is from the pen of the profound Chris- 
tian philosopher/Clement of Alexandria, who taught theology in 
that city before A. D. 202. It is a sublime but somewhat turgid 
song of praise to the Logos, as the divine educator and leader of 
the human race, and though not intended and adapted for public 
worship, is remarkable for its spirit and antiquity. 2 


L The Prayer of the Eoman Church from the newly recovered portion of 
the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, ch. 59-61 (in Bishop Lightfootfs 
translation, St. Clement of Borne, Append, pp. 376-378) : 

u Grant unto us, Lord, that we may set our hope on Thy Name which is the 
primal source of all creation, and open the eyes of our hearts, that we may 
know Thee, who alone abidest Highest in the highest, Holy in the holy; who 
fayest low the insolence of the proud: who scatterest the imaginings of nations; who 
Mttest the lowly on high, and bringest the lofly low; who make&t rich and makest 
poor; who kfflest and makest alive ; who alone art the Benefactor of spirits and 
the God of all flesh ; who hokest into the abysses, who scannest the works of 

1 In Euseb. 3. E. V. 28. 

* In the PGK%. HI. 12 (p. 311 ed. Pott) ; also in Daniel's Thesaurus hym- 
nohgicus III. p. 3 and 4. Daniel calls it " vetttstissimus hymnus ecdesice," but 
the Gloria in Excelsis may dispute this claim. The poem has been often trans- 
lated into German, by Munter (in Rambach's Anthologfe christt. Gesange, I. p. 
35); Dorner (Christologie, I. 293); Fortlage (Gesange christl. Vorseit, 1844, p. 
38) ; and in rhyme by Eagenbach (Die K G. der 3 ersten Jahrh. p. 222 sq.). 
An English translation may be found in Mrs. Charles : The Voice of Christian 
Life in Song, !N". York, 1858, p. 44 sq., and a closer one in the Ante-Nicene 
Christian Library," vol. V. p. 343 sq. 


man ; the Succor of them that are in peril, the Saviour of them that are in 
despair ; the Creator and Overseer of every spirit ; who multiplies! the nations 
upon earth, and hast chosen out from all men those that love Thee through 
Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, through whom Thou didst instruct us, didst 
sanctify us, didst honor us. We beseech Thee, Lord and Master, to be our 
help and succor. Save those among us who are in tribulation ; have mercy on 
the lowly ; lift up the fallen j show Thyself unto the needy ; heal the ungodly ; 
convert the wanderers of Thy people; feed the hungry; release our prisoners; 
raise up the weak ; comfort the faiut-hearted. Let all the Gentiles know that 
Thou art God alone, and Jesus Christ is Thy Son, and we are Thy people and 
the sheep of Thy pasture. 

" Thou through Thine operations didst make manifest the everlasting fabric 
of the world. Thou, Lord, didst create the earth. Thou that art faithful 
throughout all generations, righteous in Thy judgments, marvellous in strength 
and excellence. Thou that art wise in creating and prudent in establishing 
that which Thou hast made, that art good in the things which are seen and 
faithful with them that trust on Thee, pitiful and compassionate, forgive us our 
iniquities and our unrighteousnesses and our transgressions and shortcomings. 
Lay not to our account every sin of Thy servants and Thine handmaids, but 
cleanse us with the cleansing of Thy truth, and guide our steps to walk in 
holiness and righteousness and singleness of heart, and to do such things as are 
good and well-pleasing in Thy sight and in the sight of our rulers. Yea, Lord, 
make Thy face to shine upon us in peace for our good, that we may be sheltered 
by Thy mighty hand and delivered from every sin by Thine uplifted arm. And 
deliver us from them that hate us wrongfully. Give concord and peace to us 
and to all that dwell on the earth, as thou gavest to our fathers, when they 
called on Thee in faith and truth with holiness, that we may be saved, while 
we render obedience to Thine almighty and most excellent Name, and to our 
rulers and governors upon the earth. 

" Thou, Lord and Master, hast given them the power of sovereignty through 
Thine excellent and unspeakable might, that we knowing the glory and honor 
which Thou hast given them may submit ourselves unto them, in nothing 
resisting Thy will. Grant unto them therefore, Lord, health, peace, concord, 
stability, that they may administer the government which Thou hast given 
them without failure. For Thou, O heavenly Master, King of the ages, givest 
to the sons of men glory and honor and power over all things that are upon 
earth. Do Thou, Lord, direct their counsel according to that which is good 
and well pleasing in Thy sight, that, administering in peace and gentleness 
with godliness the power which Thou hast given them, they may obtain Thy 
favor. Thou, who alone art able to do these things and things far more 
exceeding good than these for us, we praise Thee through the High-priest and 
Guardian of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom be the glory and the 
majesty unto Thee both now and for all generations and for ever and ever. 

II. A literal translation of the poem of Clement of Alexandria in praise of 
Christ T/tvog TOV Swr^pof Xptarov. (Sro/ifov TTO&WV 


SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-811. 

" Bridle of untamed colts, 
Wing of unwandering birds, 
Sure Helm of babes, 
Shepherd of royal lambs ! 
Assemble Thy simple children, 
To praise holily, 
To hymn guilelessly 
With innocent mouths 
Christ, the guide of children. 

O King of saints, 
All-subduing Word 
Of the most high Father, 
Prince of wisdom, 
Support of sorrows, 
That rejoicest in the ages, 
Jesus, Saviour 
Of the human race, 
Shepherd, Husbandman, 
Helm, Bridle, 
Heavenly Wing, 
Of the all holy flock, 
Fisher of men 
Who are saved, 
Catching the chaste fishes 
With sweet life 
From the hateful wave 
Of a sea of vices. 

Guide [us], Shepherd 
Of rational sheep; 
Guide harmless children, 
holy King. 

footsteps of Christ, 

heavenly way, 

Perennial Word, 

Endless age, 

Eternal Light, 

Fount of mercy, 

Performer of virtue. 

Noble [is the] life of those 

Who praise God, 

Christ Jesus, 

Heavenly milk 

Of the sweet breasts 

Of the graces of the Bride, 

Pressed out of Thy wisdom. 

Babes, nourished 

With tender mouths, 

Filled with the dewy spirit 

Of the spiritual breast, 

Let us sing together 

Simple praises 

True hymns 

To Christ [the] King, 

Holy reward 

For the doctrine of life. 

Let us sing together, 

Sing in simplicity 

To the mighty Child. 

choir of peace, 

The Christ begotten, 

chaste people 

Let us praise together 

The God of peace." 

This poem was for sixteen centuries merely a hymnological curiosity, 
until an American Congregational minister, Dr. HENBY MARTYET DEX- 
TEE, l>y a happy reproduction, in 1846, secured it a place in modern 
hymn-books. While preparing a sermon (as he informs me) on "some 
prominent characteristics of the early Christians" (text, Deut. 32: 7, 
* Remember the days of old"), he first wrote down an exact translation 
of the Greek hymn of Clement, and then reproduced and modernized it 
for the use of his congregation in connection with the sermon. It is 
veil known that many Psalms of Israel have inspired some of the nobles^ 



Christian hymns. The 46th Psalm gave the key-note of Luther's 
triumphant war-hymn of the Eeformation : " Ein' feste Burg" John 
Mason Neale dug from the dust of ages many a Greek and Latin 
hymn, to the edification of English churches, notably some portions of 
Bernard of Cluny's De Contemptu Mundi, which runs through nearly 
three thousand dactylic hexameters, and furnished the material for 
"Brief life is here our portion," "For thee, dear, dear Country," and 
"Jerusalem the golden." We add Dexter's hymn as a fair specimen of 
a useful transfusion and rejuvenation of an old poem. 

1. Shepherd of tender youth, 
Guiding in love and truth 

Through devious ways; 
Christ, our triumphant King, 
We come Thy name to sing ; 
Hither our children bring 

To shout Thy praise I 

2. Thou art our Holy Lord, 
The all-subduing Word, 

Healer of strife! 
Thou didst Thyself ahase, 
That from sin's deep disgrace 
Thou mightest save our race, 

And give us life. . 

3. Thou art the great High Priest; 
Thou hast prepared the feast 

Of heavenly love; 
While in our mortal pain 

None calls on Thee in vain; 
Help Thou dost not disdain-- 
Help from above. 

4. Ever be Thou our Guide, 
Our Shepherd and our Pride, 

Our Staff and Song! 
Jesus, Thou Christ of God, 
By Thy perennial Word 
Lead us where Thou hast trod, 

Make our faith strong. 

5. So now, and till we die, 
Sound we Thy praises high, 

And joyful sing: 
Infants, and the glad throng 
Who to Thy Church belong, 
Unite to swell the song 

To Christ our King! 

67. Division of D-ivine Service. The Disdplina Aroani. 

BICHAED E.OTHE : De Discipline?. Arcani, guce dicttur^ in Ecclesfa Christ. 

Origine. Heidelb. 1841 ; and his art. on the subject in the first ed. of 

Herzog (vol. I. 469-477). 
C. A. GEBH. VOisr ZEZSCBTWITZ: System der christl. Mrchlichen JZatechetib. 

Leipz. 1863, vol. I. p. 154-227. See also his art. in the second ed. of 

Herzog, I. 637-645 (abridged in Schaff's "Eel. Enc.")- 
G. NATH. BONWETSCH (of Dorpat) : Wesen, Entstehung und Fortgang 

der Arfamdisciplin, in Kahnis 3 " Zeitschrift fur hist. Theol." 1873, pp. 

203 sqq. 
J. P. LUNDY: Monumental Christianity. N. York, 1876, p. 62-86. 

232 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Comp. also A. W. HADDAN in Smith & Cheetham, I. 564-566 ; 

DI5GEE, in Wetzer & Welte, new ed. vol. I. (1882), 1234^1238. Older 
dissertations on the subject by SCHELSTE^TE (1678), MEIEE (1679), 
(1836), FBOMMASN (1833), SIEGEL (1836, 1. 506 sqq.). 

The public service was divided from the middle of the second 
century down to the close of the fifth, into the worship of the 
catechumens, 1 and the worship of the faithful. 2 The former 
consisted of scripture reading, preaching, prayer, and song, and 
was open to the unbaptized and persons under penance. The 
latter consisted of the holy communion, with its liturgical appen- 
dages ; none but the proper members of the church could attend 
it; and before it began, all catechumens and unbelievers left the 
assembly at the order of the deacon, 3 and the doors were closed 
or guarded* 

The earliest witness for this strict separation is Tertullian, 
who reproaches the heretics with allowing the baptized and the 
onbaptized to attend the same prayers, and casting the holy even 
before the heathens. 4 He demands, that believers, catechumens, 
and heathens should occupy separate places in public worship. 
The Alexandrian divines furnished a theoretical ground for this 

1 Aetrovpyia T&V Karrixwptvuv, Missa Cafechumenorum. The name missa 
(from which our moss is derived) occurs first in Augustin and in the acts of 
the council of Carthage, A.D. 398, It arose from the formula of dismission at 
the close of each part of the service, and is equivalent to missio, di&mMo. 
Augustin (Serm. 49, c. 8) : " Take notice, after the sermon the dismissal (miasa) 
of the catechumens takes place ; the faithful will remain." Afterwards missa 
came to designate exclusively the communion service. In the Greek church 
faiTovpyia or tarwpy/a, semce, is the precise equivalent for missa. 

1 \eiTctopyia TW xurrov, Missa Fiddium. 

5 M# Tl TWV KQTTlXOVfAtvOV, [if] Tl TOV OKpQQfJ.iv(W t fjfi Tig TQfl> CLirtOTQV, HJ) Tlf 

irEpo66jw } " Let none of the catechumens, let none of the hearers, let none of 
the unbelievers, let none of the heterodox, stay here." Const. Apost. viii. 12. 
Comp. Chrysostom, Horn, in Watt, raiii. 

* De Prascr. Hcer. c. 41 : " Quis catechumenus, quis jidelis, incertum est " (that 
is, among the heretics) ; "pariter adeunt, pariter want, etiam ethnici, si superve- 
Mrint; sanctum canibus et porcis margartias, licet non veras " (since they have no 
proper sacraments), "jactabunt." But this does not apply to all heretics, least 
of all to the Manichaeans, who carried the notion of myrtery in the sacramento 
much further than the Catholics. 


practice by their doctrine of a secret tradition for the esoteric. 
Besides the communion, the sacrament of baptism, ^rith its 
accompanying confession, was likewise treated as a mystery for 
the initiated/ and withdrawn from the view of Jews and 

We have here the beginnings of the Christian mystery-wor- 
ship, or what has been called since 1679 "the Secret Discipline," 
(Disdplina Arcani), which is presented in its fall development 
in the liturgies of the fourth century, but disappeared from the 
Latin church after the sixth century, with the dissolution of 
heathenism and the universal introduction of infant baptism. 

The "Secret Discipline had reference chiefly to the celebration 
of the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist, but included 
also the baptismal symbol, the Lord's Prayer, and the doctrine 
of the Trinity. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Cyril of Jeru- 
salem, and other fathers make a distinction between lower or 
elementary (exoteric) and higher or deeper (esoteric) doctrines, 
and state that the latter are withheld from the uninitiated out 
of reverence and to avoid giving offence to the weak and the 
heathen. This mysterious reticence, however, does not justify 
the inference that the Secret Discipline included transubstantia- 
tion, purgatory, and other Roman dogmas which are not ex- 
pressly taught in the writings of the fathers. The argument 
from silence is set aside by positive proof to the contrary. 2 
Modern Roman archaeologists have pressed the whole symbolism 
of the Catacombs into the service of the Secret Discipline, but 
without due regard to the age of those symbolical repre- 

The origin of the Secret Discipline has been traced by some to 

1 Mfyrot, im&ofc* 

2 The learned Jesuit Emanuel von Schelstrate first used this argument in 
Antiqwfas tilustrafa (Antv. 1678), and De Disdplina, Arcani (Bom. 1685) ; but 
he was refuted by the Lutheran W. Ernst Tentzel, in his Dissert de Disc. 
Arcani, Lips- 1683 and 1692. Tentzel, Casaubon, Bingham, Bothe, and Zetz- 
schwitz are wrong, however, in confining the Disc. Art. to the ritual and ex- 
cluding the dogma. See especially Cyril of Jerus. Katech. XVI. 26 j XYHL 
32, S3. 

1>3 \ SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

the apostolic age, ou thu ground of the distinction made between 
"milk for babes " and *' strong meat" for those "of full age," 
and between speaking to "carnal" and to "spiritual" hearers. 1 
But this distinction has no reference to public worship, and 
Justin Martyr, in hte first Apology, addressed to a heathen 
emperur, describes the celebration of baptism and the eucharist 
without die least reserve. Others derive the institution from the 
sacerdotal and hierarchical spirit which appeared in the latter 
part of the second century, and which no doubt favored and 
strengthened it; 2 still others, from the Greek and Roman mys- 
tery worship, which would best explain many expressions and 
formulas, together with all sorts of unscriptural pedantries con- 
nected with these mysteries. 3 Yet the first motive must be sought 
rather in an opposition to heathenism ; to wit, in the feeling of the 
necessity of guarding the sacred transactions of Christianity, the 
embodiment of its deepest truths, against profanation in the midst 
of a hostile world, according to Matt. 7:6; especially when after 
Hadrian, perhaps even from the time of Nero, those transactions 
came to be so shamefully misunderstood* and slandered. To this 
must be added a proper regard for modesty and decency in the 
administration of adult baptism by immersion. Finally and 
this is the chief cause the institution of the order of catechu- 
mens led to a distinction of half-Christians and full-Christians, 
exoteric and esoteric, and this distinction gradually became 

1 Heb. 5 : 12-14; 1 Cor. 3: 1, 2. So some fathers who carry the Disc. Arc,. 
back to the Lord's command, Matt. 7 : 6, and in recent times Credner (1844), 
and Wandinger (in the new ed. of Wetzer and Welte, 1. 1237). St. Paul, 1 Cor. 
14 : 23-25, implies the presence of strangers in the public services, but not 
necessarily during the- communion. 

2 Bo Bonwetsch, Lc., versus Eothe and Zetzchwitz. 

3 The correspondence is very apparent in the ecclesiastical use of such terms 
as uvorypiov, eMolov, pi'qaic, pvarayQyeiv, mdapaie, refatoate, Qvnc^g (of bap- 
tism), etc. On the G-reek, and especially the Eleusinian cultus of raysUries, 
com p. Lobeck, Aglaophanus, Konigsberg, 1829; several articles of Preller in 
Pauly's Rxdeneyklop. der Altertkumswissensehaft III. 83 sqq., V. 311 sqq., 
Zetzschwitz, I. c. 156 sqq., and Liibker's Reattex. des class. Atierthums, 5th ed. 
by Erler (1877), p. 762. Lobeck has refuted the older view of Warburton 
and Creuzer, that a secret wisdom, and especially the traditions of a primitive 
revelation, were propagated in the Greek mysteries. 


established in the liturgy. The secret discipline was therefore 
a temporary, educational and liturgical expedient of the ante- 
Nicene age. The catechurnenate and the division of the acts of 
worship grew together and declined together. \Vith the disap- 
pearance of adult catechumens, or with the general use of infant 
baptism and the union of church and state, disappeared also the 
secret discipline in the sixth century: " cessante causa cessat 

The Eastern church, however, has retained in her liturgies to 
this day the ancient form for the dismission of catechumens, 
the special prayers for them, the designation of the sacraments 
as " mysteries," and the partial celebration of the mass behind 
the veil ; though she also has for centuries had no catechumens 
in the old sense of the word, that is, adult heathen or Jewish 
disciples preparing for baptism, except in rare cases of excep- 
tion, or on missionary ground. 

68. Celebration of the Eucharist 

The celebration of the Eucharist or holy communion with 
appropriate prayers of the faithful was the culmination of Chris- 
tian worship. 1 Justin Martyr gives us the following descrip- 
tion, which still bespeaks the primitive simplicity: 2 "After the 
prayers [of the catechumen worship] we greet one another with 
the brotherly kiss. Then bread and a cup with water and wine 
are handed to the president (bishop) of the brethren. He re- 
ceives them, and offers praise, glory, and thanks to the Father 
of all, through the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit, for 
these his gifts. When he has ended the prayers and thanks- 
giving, the whole congregation responds : ' Amen.' For c Amen J 
in the Hebrew tongue means : ' Be it so.' Upon this the dea- 
cons, as we call them, give to each of those present some r * the 
blessed bread, 3 and of the wine mingled with water, and carry 
it to the absent in their dwellings. This food is called 'Vrith us 

1 Names : evxaptariaj Kotvurvia, ewharfetia, communio, commuiiicatio, etc. 
* Apol I. c. 65, 66. 

23 D SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

the euckaristy of which none can partake, but the believing and 
baptized, who live according to the commands of Christ. For 
we use these not as common bread and common drink ; but like 
as Jesus Christ our Eedeemer was made flesh through the word 
of God, and took upon him flesh and blood for our redemption ; 
so we are taught, that the nourishment blessed by the word of 
prayer, by which our flesh and blood are nourished by trans- 
formation (assimilation), is the flesh and blood of the incarnate 

Then he relates the institution from the Gospels, and men- 
tions the customary collections for the poor. 

We are not warranted in carrying back to this period the full 
liturgical service, which we find prevailing with striking unifor- 
mity in essentials, though with many variations in minor points, 
in all quarters of the church in the Nicene age. A certain sim- 
plicity and freedom characterized the period before us. Even 
the so-called Clementine liturgy, in the eighth book of the 
pseudo-Apostolical Constitutions, was probably not composed 
and written out in this form before the fourth century. There is 
no trace of written liturgies during the Diocletian persecution. But 
the germs date from the second century. The oldest eucharistic 
prayers have recently come to light in the Didache, which 
contains three thanksgivings for the cup, the broken bread, 
and for all mercies, (chs. 9 and 10.) 

From scattered statements of the ante-Nicene fathers we may 
gather the following view of the eucharistic service as it may 
have stood in the middle of the third century, if not earlier. 

The communion was a regular and the most solemn part of 
the Sunday worship; or it was the worship of God in the 
stricter sense, in which none but full members of the church 
could engage. In many places and by many Christians- it was 
celebrated even daily, after apostolic precedent, and according to 
the very common mystical interpretation of the fourth petition 
of the Lord's prayer. 1 The service began, after the dismission of 

1 CJyprian speaks of daily sacrifices. Ep. 54: "Sacerdotes qui sacrifice Dei 
ftotidie cdfaamw:* So Ambrose, Ep. 14 ad MarceU., and the oldest liturgio*! 


the catechumens, with the kiss of peace, given by the men to 
men, and by the women to women, in token of mutual recogni- 
tion as members of one redeemed family in the midst of a 
heartless and loveless world. It was based upon apostolic 
precedent, and is characteristic of the childlike simplicity, and 
love and joy of the early Christians. 1 The service proper con- 
sisted of two principal acts : the oblation? or presenting of the 
offerings of the congregation by the deacons for the ordinance 
itself, and for the benefit of the clergy and the poor; and the 
communion, or partaking of the consecrated elements. In the 
oblation the congregation at the same time presented itself as a 
living thank-offering ; as in the communion it appropriated anew 
in faith the sacrifice of Christ, and united itself anew with its 
Head. Both acts were accompanied and consecrated by prayer 
and songs of praise. 

In the prayers we must distinguish, first, the general thanks- 
giving (the eucharist in the strictest sense of the word) for all 
the natural and spiritual gifts of God, commonly ending with 
the seraphic hymn, Isa. 6:3; secondly, the prayer of consecra- 
tion, or the invocation of the Holy Spirit 3 upon the people and 

works. But that the observance was various, is certified by Augustin, among 
others. Ep. 118 ad Janucvr. c. 2 : '* Alii quotidie communicant corpori et sanguini 
Dominico; alii certis dubus accipiunt; alibi nuttus dies intermitttiur quo non 
offeratur; alibi sabbato tantum et dominico; alibi tantum dominico." St. Basil 
says (Ep. 289) : tl We commune four times in the week, on the Lord's Day, 
the fourth day, the preparation day [Friday], and the Sabbath." Chrysostom 
complains of the small number of communicants at the daily sacrifice. 

1 Bom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5 : 26 ; !Pet5:14. 
The Kiss of Peace continued in the Latin church till the end of the thirteenth 
century, and was then transferred to the close of the service or exchanged for 
a mere form of words : Pax tibi et ecclesice. In the Eussian church the clergy 
kiss each other during the recital of the Nicehe Creed to show the nominal 
union of orthodoxy and charity (so often divided). In the Coptic church the 
primitive custom is still in force, and in some small Protestant sects it has been 

2 Hpoc<f>opd t 

3 'Efl-j'/cyUpcnf rov Hv. 'Ay. Irenseus derives this inwcatio Spiritus S., as well as 
the oblation and the thanksgiving, from apostolic instruction. See the 2nd 
fragment, in Stieren, I. 854. It appears in all the Greek liturgies. In the 
Liturgia, Jacobi it reads thus : Kal If aK6<rretkn> $' i}/iof *al M ra 

238 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

the elements, usually accompanied by the recital of the words 
of institution and the Lord's Prayer; and finally, the general 
intercessions for all classes, especially for the believers, on the 
ground of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for the salvation 
of the world. The length and order of the prayers, however, 
were not uniform ; nor the position of the Lord's Prayer, which 
sometimes took the place of the prayer of consecration, being 
reserved for the prominent part of the service. Pope Gregory 
I. says that it " was the custom of the Apostles to consecrate 
the oblation only by the Lord's Prayer." The congregation 
responded from time to time, according to the ancient Jewish 
and the apostolic usage, with an audible "Amen," or "Kyrie 
eleison/" The " Sursum corda," also, as an incitement to devo- 
tion, with the response, "Habernus ad Dominum," appears at 
least as early as Cyprian's time, who expressly alludes to it, and 
in all the ancient liturgies. The prayers were spoken, not read 
from a book. But extemporaneous prayer naturally assumes a 
fixed form by constant repetition. 

The elements were common or leavened bread 1 (except among 
the Ebionites, who, like the later Roman church from the 
seventh century, used unleavened bread), and wine mingled 
with water. This mixing was a general custom in antiquity, 
but came now to have various mystical meanings attached to it. 
The elements were placed in the hands (not in the mouth) of 
each communicant by the clergy who were present, or, according 
to Justin, by the deacons alone, amid singing of psalms by the 
congregation (Psalm 34), with the words: "The body of 
Christ;" "The blood of Christ, the cup of life;" to each of 

ravra rb Hvsvftd aov rb vrava-ytov, TO Kvpiov /cat Zuoxotfiv . . . Iva . . . 
KOL KoifysTf rbv fih aprov TOVTOV a&pa ayurv rov Xpicrov aw, KOI rb Trorfptov TOVTO 
aiua Ti/iiov rov Xp. cov, ha ywrpai Tram roig kt; avr&v fJLera^/i^dvovffLV sl$ &<f>sati> 
L t $wjv altiviov, etg dyiaapbv ipvx&v Kal au/idrcw, elf 

<5/>rof, says Justin, while in view of its sacred import he calls it also 
uncommon bread and drink. The use of leavened or unleavened bread 
became afterwards, as is well known, a point of controversj between the Koman 
and Greek churches. 


which the recipient responded " Amen." l The -whole congre- 
gation thus received the elements, standing in the act. 2 Thanks- 
giving and benediction concluded the celebration. 

After the public service the deacons carried the consecrated 
elements to the sick and to the confessors in prison. Many took 
portions of the bread home mth them, to use in the family at 
morning prayeir. This domestic communion was practised par-* 
ticularly in North Africa,, and furnishes the first example of a 
commmio sub una specie. In the same country, in Cyprian's 
time, we find the custom of infant communion (administered 
with wine alone), which was justified from John 6 : 53, and has 
continued in the Greek (and Russian) church to this day, though 
irreconcilable with the apostle's requisition of a preparatory ex- 
amination (1 Cor. 11 : 28). 

At first the communion was joined with a LOVE FEAST, and 
was then celebrated in the evening, in memory of the last 
supper of Jesus with his disciples. But so early iis the begin- 
ning of the second century these two exercises were separated, 
and the communion was placed in the morning, the love feast 
in the evening, except on certain days of special observance. 3 

simplest form of distribution, "Zaua "Zp'orovf and "Akc Xp., 
icorfptov 6)370," occurs in the Clementine liturgy of the Apostolic G 'imitations, 
YHL 13j and seems to be the oldest. The Didache gives no ibrin ox distribution. 
1 The standing posture of the congregation during the principal prayers, 
and in the communion itself, seems to have been at first universal. For this 
was, indeed, the custom always on the day of the resurrection in distinction 
from Friday ("stantes oramus, quod est signum resurrectionis" says Augiistinl ; 
besides, the communion was, in the highest sense, a ceremony of festivity and 
joy ; and finally, Justin expressly observes: " Then we all stand up to prayer." 
After the twelfth century, kneeling in receiving the elements became general, 
and passed from the Catholic church into the Lutheran and Anglican, while 
most of the Reformed churches returned to the original custom of standing. 
Sitting in the communion was first introduced after the Reformation by the 
Presbyterian church of Scotland, and is very common in the United States. 
the deacons or elders handing the bread and cup to the communicants in theii 
pews. A curious circumstance is the sitting posture of the Pope in the com- 
munion, which Dean Stanley regards as a relic of the reclining or recumbent 
posture of the primitive disciples. See his Ckrkt. Instit. p. 250 sqq. 

8 On Maundy-Thursday, according to Augustin's testimony, the com- 
munion continued to be celebrated in the evening, "tanqwm ad in&igniarm 

240 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Tertullian gives a detailed description of the Agape in re- 
futation of the shameless calumnies of the heathens. 1 But the 
growth of the churches and the rise of manifold abuses led to 
the gradual disuse, and in the fourth century even to the formal 
prohibition of the Agape, which belonged in fact only to the 
childhood and first love of the church. It was a family feast, 
where rich and poor, master and slave met on the same footing, 
partaking of a simple meal, hearing reports from distant con- 
gregations, contributing to the necessities of suffering brethren, 
and encouraging each other in their daily duties and trials. 
Augustin describes his mother Monica as going to these feasts 
with a basket full of provisions and distributing them. 

The communion service has undergone many changes in the 
course of time, but still substantially survives with all its primi- 
tive vitality and solemnity in all churches of Christendom, a per- 
petual memorial of Chrisfs atoning sacrifice and saving love to 
the human race. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are institutions 
which proclaim from day to day the historic Christ, and can never 
be superseded by contrivances of human ingenuity and wisdom. 

commemorationem." So on high feasts, as Christinas night, Epiphany, and 
Easter Eve, and in fasting seasons. See Ambrose, Sewn. viii. in Ps. 118. 

J Apd. c. 39 : " About the modest supper-room of the Christians alone a 
great ado is made. Our feast explains itself by its name. The Greeks call it 
love- Whatever it costs, our outlay in the name of piety is gain, since with 
the good things of the feast we benefit the needy, not as it is with you, do 
parasites aspire to the glory of satisfying their licentious propensities, selling 
themselves for a belly-feast to all disgraceful treatment but as it is with God 
himself, a peculiar respect is shown to the lowly. If the object of our feast 
be good, in the light of that consider its further regulations. As it is an act 
of religious service, it permits no vileness or immodesty. The participants, 
before reclining, taste first of prayer to God. As much is eaten as satisfies the 
cravings of hunger; as much is drunk as befits the chaste. They say it is 
enough, as those who remember that even during the night they have to wor- 
ship God ; they talk as those who know that the Lord is one of their auditors. 
After the washing of hands and the bringing in of lights, each is asked to 
stand forth and sing, as he can, a hymn to God, either one from the holy 
Scriptures or one of his own composing a proof of the measure of our drink- 
ing. As the feast commenced with prayer, so with prayer it closed. We go 
from it, not like troops of mischief-doers, nor bands of roamers, nor to break 
out into licentious acts, but to have as much care of our modesty and chastity 
as if we had been at a school of virtue rather t&an, a banquet" (Transl^tioij 
from the " Ante-Mcene Library >; J. 


69. Tlie Doctrine of the Eucharist. 

Literature. See the works quoted, vol. I. 472, by WATEEIAST> (Episc. 
d. 1740), D8LLI2TGBE (R. Oath., 1826; since 1870 Old Oath.), 
EBRARD (Calvinistic, 1845], XEYIX (Calvinistic, 1846), KAHSTS 
(Luth. 1851, but changed his view in his Dogmatik], E. B. FUSJSY 
(high Anglic., 1855), KUCKEBT (Rationalistic, 1856), VOGAX (high 
Anglic., 1871), HARRISON (Evang. Angl, 1871), STANLEY (Broad 
Church Episc., 1881), GrUDE (Lutheran, 1887). 

On the Eucharistic doctrine of Ignatius, Justin, Irenseus, and Tertullian, 
there are also special treatises by THIERSCH (1841), SEMISCH (1842), 
ENGELHARDT (1842), BAUR (1839 and 1857), STEITZ (1864), and 

H6FLING : Die Lehre der altesten Kirche vom Opfer im Leben und Callus der 
Christen. Erlangen, 1851. 

Dean STANLEY : The Eucharistic Sacrifice. In " Christian Institutions" 
(N. Y. 1881) p. 73 sqq. 

The doctrine concerning the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, 
not coming into special discussion, remained indefinite and 
obscure. The ancient church made more account of the worthy 
participation of the ordinance than of the logical apprehension 
of it. She looked upon it as the holiest mystery of the Chris- 
tian worship, and accordingly celebrated it with the deepest 
devotion, without inquiring into the mode of Christ's presence, 
nor into the relation of the sensible signs to his flesh and blood. 
It is unhistorical to carry any of the later theories back into 
this age ; although it has been done frequently in the apologetic 
and polemic discussion of this subject. 


The Didache of the Apostles contains eucharistic prayers, but 
no theory of the eucharist. Ignatius speaks of this sacrament 
in two passages, only by way of allusion, but in very strong, 
mystical terms, calling it the flesh of our crucified and risen 
Lord Jesus Christ, and the consecrated bread a medicine of 
immortaliiy and an antidote of spiritual death. 1 This view, 

1 Ad Smyrn. c. 7 ; against the Bocetists, who deny rvjv ev%apioriav a&pm eivac 
rov aarijpQg jfJL&w 'I. Xp., K. r. A. ; and Ad Ephes* c. 20 : n Og (sc. dprof ) &mv 
tiavaaiac, avridoros rov [i% airodavelv, d^,Ad igv ev 'Ijycrov Xp*ory did 
Both passages axe wanting in the Syriac version. Bat the fort if 
Vol. II. 16. 

212 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

closely connected with his high-churchly tendency in general, 
no doubt involves belief in the real presence, and ascribes to 
the holy Supper an effect on spirit and body at once, with 
reference to the future resurrection, but is still somewhat ob- 
scure, and rather an expression of elevated feeling, than a logical 

The same may be said of Justin Martyr, when he compares 
the descent of Christ into the consecrated elements to his incar- 
nation for our redemption. 1 

Irenseus says repeatedly, in combating the Gnostic Docetism, 2 
that bread and wine in the sacrament become, by the presence 
of the Word of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the 
body and blood of Christ, and that the receiving of them 
strengthens soul and body (the germ of the resurrection body) 
unto eternal life. Yet this would hardly warrant our ascribing 
either transubstantiation or consubstantiation to Ireneeus. For 
in another place he calls the bread and wine, after consecration, 
"antitypes," implying the continued distinction of their sub- 
stance from the body and blood of Christ. 3 This expression in 
itself, indeed, might be understood as merely contrasting here 
the Supper, as the substance, with the Old Testament passover, 
its type; as Peter calls baptism the antitype of the saving 

cited by Theodoret, Dial. HI. p. 231, and must therefore have been known 
even in the Syrian church in his time. 

1 Apol. I. 66 (1. 182, third ed. of Otto). Here also occurs already the term 
fteraj3o%ij, which some Roman controversialists use at once as an argument for 
transubstantiation. Justin says: 'Ef fo (i. e. Tpoffiq) atya KOI capKsg Kara 
perapoMfr rpi^avrat ^wv, ex quo alim&ito sanguis et carries nostra per mutatwn&n 
aluntur. But according to the context, this denotes by no means a transmu- 
tation of the elements, but either the assimilation of them to the body of the 
receiver, or the operation of them upon the body, with reference to the future 
resurrection. Comp. John 6: 54 sqq,, and like passages in Ignatius and 

2 Adv. Jusr. IV. 18, and passim. 

8 In the second of the Fragments discovered by Pfaff (Opp. Iren. ed. Stieren, 
vol. L p. 855), which Mafiei and other Roman divines have unwarrantably 
declared spurious. It is there said that the Christians, after the offering of the 
eucharistic sacrifice, call upon the Holy Ghost, STTO^ a7ro<$vy r%v tivaiav ravnjv 
col TOV aprov aQpa TOV Xpurrov, Kal rb irorqptov TO alpa TOV Xp., Iva ol v.ETa%afi6vre( 
vvruv T&V avrirvTruv, rfjs affoeue i&w fyapriuv nal rfc fujJG aluviov 


water of the flood. 1 But the connection, and the i&sus loqwndi 
of the earlier Greek fathers, require us to take the term antitype 
in the sense of type, or, more precisely, as the antithesis of 
archetype. The bread and wine represent and exhibit the body 
and blood of Christ as the archetype, and correspond to them, 
as a copy to the original. In exactly the same sense it is said 
in Heb. 9 : 24 comp. 8 : 5 that the earthly sanctuary is the 
antitype, that is the copy, of the heavenly archetype. Other 
Greek fathers also, down to the fifth century, and especially the 
author of the Apostolical Constitutions, call the consecrated 
elements "antitypes" (sometimes, like Theodoretus, "types") 
of the body and blood of Christ. 2 

A different view, approaching nearer the Calvinistie or Re- 
formed, we meet with among the African fathers. Tertullian 
makes the words of institution : HOG est corpus meum, equiva- 
lent to : figura corpora mei, to prove, in opposition to Marcion's 
docetism, the reality of the body of Jesus a mere phantom 
being capable of no emblematic representation. 3 This involves, 
at all events, an essential distinction between the consecrated 
elements and the body and blood of Christ in the Supper. Yet 
Tertullian must not be understood as teaching a m&rdy sym- 
bolical presence of Christ; for in other places he speaks, accord- 
ing to his general realistic turn, in almost materialistic language 
of an eating of the body of Christ, and extends the participa- 
tion even to the body of the receiver. 4 Cyprian likewise ap- 

UPet. 3: 20,21. 

2 Const Apost. 1. V. c. 14 : Ta avrirvRa [tverffpta TOV TIU'LOV o&fusrot^ avrcrv 
KOI alparos. So VI. 30, and in a eucharistie prayer, VTL 25. Other passages 
of the Greek fathers see in Stieren, 1. c. p. 884 sq. Comp. also Bleek's learned 
remarks in his large Com, on Heb. 8 : 5, and 9 : 24. 

3 Adv. Marc. IV. 40 ; and likewise ILL 19. This interpretation is plainly 
very near that of (Ecolampadius, who pats the figure in the predicate, and who 
attached no small weight to Tertullian's authority. But the Zwinglian view, 
which puts the figure in the eon, instead of the predicate, appears also in Ter- 
tullian, Adv. Marc. I. H * n tne ^ords: " Pcmem qui ipsum corpus suum rep- 
rcesentat" The two interpretations are only grammatical modifications of the 
same symbolical theory. 

* De ResiLT. Camis, c. 8. *' Caro corpore et sanguine Chrish vescitur, ut et anima 
fe Deo saginetur" De Pudic. c. 9, he refers the fatted calf; in the parable of 

SECOND PEBIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

pears to favor a symbolical interpretation of the words of insti- 
tution, yet not so clearly. The idea of the real presence would 
have much better suited his sacerdotal conception of the ministry. 
In the customary mixing of the wine with water he sees a type 
of the union of Christ with his church, 1 and, on the authority 
of John 6 : 53, holds the communion of the Supper indispensa- 
ble to salvation. The idea of a sacrifice comes out very boldly 
in Cyprian. 

The Alexandrians are here, as usual, decidedly spiritualistic. 
Clement twice expressly calls the wine a symbol or an allegory 
of the blood of Christ, and says, that the communicant receives 
not the physical, but the spiritual blood, the life, of 'Christ ; as, 
indeed, the blood is the life of the body. Origen distinguishes 
still more definitely the earthly elements from the heavenly 
bread of life, and makes it the whole design of the supper to 
feed the soul with the divine word. 2 Applying his unsound 
allegorical method here, he makes the bread represent the Old 
Testament, the wine the New, and the breaking of the bread 
the multiplication of the divine word ! But these were rather 
private views for the initiated, and can hardly be taken as pre- 
senting the doctrine of the Alexandrian church. 

We have, therefore, among the ante-Nicene fathers, three dif- 

the prodigal son, to the Lord's Supper, and says : " Opimitate Dominid corporis 
vesctiw, eucharistia scilicet." De Orat. c. 6 : " Quod et corpus Ohristi in pane cense- 
tw" which should probably be translated : is to be understood by the bread 
(not contained in the bread). 

1 For this reason he considers the mixing essential. Epist. 63 (ed. Bal.) c. 
13: ''Sivinum fantum quis o/erat, sanguis Christi incipit esse sine nobis; si vero 
aqw sit sola, plebs incipit esse sine Christo. Quando autem utrumque miscetur et 
adumtione confusa sibi invicem copulatur, tune sacramentum spirituale et codeste 

2 Comment, ser. in Mm. c. 85 (HI- 898): "Pants iste, quern Deus Verbtm 
[Logos] corpus suum esse fatetur, verbum est nutritorium animarum, verbum de 
Deo Verbo procedens } et panis de pani ccelesti. .... Non enim panem ilium visi- 
btiem, quern tenebat in manibus, corpus suum dicebat Deus Verbum, sed verbum, in 
cuius mysterio fuerat panis tile frangendus" Then the same of the wine. 
Origen evidently goes no higher than the Zwinglian theory, while Clement 
approaches the Calvinistic view of a spiritual real fruition of Ohrisf s life in 
the eucharist 


ferent views, an Oriental, a North- African, and an Alexandrian. 
The first view, that of Ignatius and Irenaeus, agrees most nearly 
with the mystical character of the celebration of the eucharist, 
and with the catholicizing features of the age. 


This point is very important in relation to the doctrine, and 
still more important in relation to the cultus and life, of the 
ancient church. The Lord's Supper was universally regarded 
not only as a sacrament, but also as a sacrifice, 1 the true and 
eternal sacrifice of the new covenant, superseding all the pro- 
visional and typical sacrifices of the old; taking the place 
particularly of the passover, or the feast of the typical redemp- 
tion 'from Egypt. This eucharistic sacrifice, however, the ante- 
Nicene fathers conceived not as an unbloody repetition of the 
atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross, but simply as a com- 
memoration and renewed appropriation of that atonement, and, 
above all, a thank-offering of the whole church for all the 
favors of God in creation and redemption. Hence the current 
name itself eucharist; which denoted in the first place the 
prayer of thanksgiving, but afterwards the whole rite. 2 

The consecrated elements were regarded in a twofold light, as 
representing at once the natural and the spiritual gifts of God, 
which culminated in the self-sacrifice of Christ on the cross. 
Hence the eucharistic prayer, like that connected with the typical 
passover, related at the same time to creation and redemption, 
which were the more closely joined in the mind of the church 
for their dualistic separation by the Gnostics. The earthly gifts 
of bread and wine were taken as types and pledges of the 
heavenly gifts of the same God, who has both created and 
redeemed the world. 

Upon this followed the idea of the self-sacrifice of the wor- 
shipper himself, the sacrifice of renewed self-consecration to 

, ftvaia, oblatw, sam/wmm. 
2 So among the Jews the cup of wine at the paschal supper was called " the 
cup of blessing/' norfpiov eMoym? = ei^apitrn'af , comp. 1 Cor. 10 : 16. 

246 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

Christ in return for his sacrifice on the cross, and also the 
sacrifice of charity to the poor. Down to the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries the eucharistic elements were presented as a 
thank-offering by the members of the congregation themselves, 
and the remnants went to the clergy and the poor. In these 
gifts the people yielded themselves as a priestly race and a 
living thank-offering to God, to whom they owed all the 
blessings alike of providence and of grace. In later times the 
priest alone offered the sacrifice. But even the Eoman Missal 
retains a recollection of the ancient custom in the plural form, 
" We offer/' and in the sentence : " All you, both brethren and 
sisters, pray that my sacrifice and your sacrifice, which is equally . 
yours as well as mine, may be meat for the Lord." 

This subjective offering of the whole congregation on the 
ground of the objective atoning sacrifice of Christ is the real 
centre of the ancient Christian worship, and particularly of the 
communion. It thus differed both from the later Catholic mass, 
which has changed the thank-offering into a sin-offering, the 
congregational offering into a priest offering; and from the com- 
mon Protestant cultus, which, in opposition to the Eoman mass, 
has almost entirely banished the idea of sacrifice from the cele- 
bration of the Lord's Supper, except in the customary offerings 
for the poor. 

The writers of the second century keep strictly within the 
limits of the notion of a congregational rfAafti-offering. Thus 
Justin says expressly, prayers and thanksgivings alone are the 
true and acceptable sacrifices, which the Christians offer. Irenseus 
has been brought as a witness for the Eoman doctrine, only 
on the ground of a false reading. 1 The African fathers, in the 
third century, v/ho elsewhere incline to the symbolical interpre- 
tation of the words of institution, are the first to approach on 

i Adv. Har. IV. c. 18, 4: " Verbum [the Logos] quod offvrtwr Deo;" instead 
of which should be read, according to other manuscripts: "Verbum per quod 
o/erfur/' which suits the connexion much better. Comp. IV. 17, g 6: "Per 
7as. Christum o/ert eccksia." Stieren reads " Verbum qwd" but refers it not 
to Christ, but to the word of the prayer. The passage is, at all eventg, too 
nbscure and too isolated to build a dogma upon. 


this point the later Eoman Catholic idea of a sin-offering; 
especially Cyprian, the steadfast advocate of priesthood and of 
episcopal authority. 1 The ideas of priesthood, sacrifice, and 
altar, are intimately connected, and a Judaizing or paganizing 
conception of one must extend to all. 

70. The Celebration of Baptim,. 

The Lit. see in vol. I. ? 54, p. 465 sq., especially WALL and HOFLTSG. 
On the archaeology of baptism see BIXGHAM'S Antiquities, Arausri's 
Denkwurdigkeiten, the first voL of BrxTEBnr, and the art. Baptism in 
SMITH and CHEETHAM, 1. 155-172. Also SCHAFF, on the Didaehe (1885), 
p. 29-56. For pictorial illustrations see the monumental works of Cav. 
DE Rossi, GABEUCCI, KOLLEE, on the catacombs, and SCHAPF, I c. 

The "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" (ch. 7,) enjoins 
baptism, after chatechetical instruction, in these words: "Baptize 
into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost in living (running) water. But if thou hast not living 
water, baptize into other water ; and if thou canst not in cold, 
then in warm. But if thou hast neither, pour (sx^so^ water 
upon the head thrice, into the name of the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost." 

Justin Martyr gives the following account of baptism: 2 
" Those who are convinced of the truth of our doctrine, and 
have promised to live according to it, are exhorted to prayer, 
fasting and repentance for past sins; we praying and fasting 
with them. Then they are led by us to a place where is water, 
and in this way they are regenerated, as we also have been regen- 
erated ; that is, they receive the water-bath in the name of God, 
the Father and Ruler of all, and of our Eedeemer Jesus Christ, 
and of the Holy Ghost. For Christ says : Except ye be born 
again, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. (John 3 : 5.) 
Thus, from children of necessity and ignorance, we become 

1 Epist. 63 ad Ccecil. c. 14: "Si Jesus Ckristus, Dominus et Dews noster, ipse 
est summus sacerdos Dei Patris et sacrificium Patri seipsum primus obtulti et hoe 
fieri in sui commemorationem prcecepit: utlque &k sacerdos vice Christi verefunffitur, 
gui id, quod-Ckristus fecit, imitatur d saerifeium verum 4, plenum tujw ofert." 

*ApoL I, a 61 (1. 164 ed. Otto). 

248 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

children of choice and of wisdom, and partakers of the forgive* 

ness of former sins The baptismal bath is called 

also illumination (<p<0Ti<rp6s\ because those who receive it are 
enlightened in the understanding." 

This account may be completed by the following particulars 
from Tertullian and later writers. 

Before the act the candidate was required in a solemn vow to 
renounce the service of the devil, that is, all evil/ give himself 
to Christ, and confess the sum of the apostolic faith in God the 
Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. 2 The Apostles' Creed, there- 
fore, is properly the baptismal symbol, as it grew, in fact, out of 
the baptismal formula. 

This act of turning from sin and turning to God, or of repen- 
tance and faith, on the part of the candidate, was followed by 
an appropriate prayer of the minister, and then by the baptism 
itself into the triune name, with three successive immersions in 
which the deacons and deaconesses assisted. The immersion 
consisted in thrice dipping the head of the candidate who stood 
nude in the water. 3 Single immersion seems to have been 

1 Abrenunciatio didboli. Tertullian : " Henunciare didbolo et pompce et omgdis 
ijv&? Const. Apost. : 'AiroTaaaopat TU 2a,7avp not rolf tpyois &VTOV Kal ratg 
?ro/K7raZf avrov, KOI TaZf farpeUuf CLVTOV, ical iraffi roig VTT* avr6v. This renuncia- 
tion of the devil was made, at least in the fourth century, as we learn from 
Cyril of Jerusalem, in the vestibule of the baptistery, with the face towardi 
the west, and the hand raised in the repelling posture, as if Satan were present 
(of naptivri aTrordffGsa&e Sanrvp), and was sometimes accompanied with exsuf- 
flations, or other signs of expulsion of the evil spirit. 

* '0/wArfy^Hf, professio. The creed was either said by the catechumen after 
the priest, or confessed in answer to questions, and with the face turned east- 
wards towards the light 

* See the authorities quoted in Smith and Cheetham, 1. 161, and more fully in 
Augusti, 1. c. " Ter mcrgtiamur," says Tertullian. Immersion was very natural 
in Southern climates. The baptisteries of the Nicene age, of which many re- 
main in Asia, Africa, and Southern Europe, were built for immersion, and all 
Oriental churches still adhere to this mode. Garrucci (Storia della Arte 
Gri&iana, I. 27) says : Antickissimo e solenne fa, il rito cP immergere la persona 
net? acquOj e tre volte anche U capo, d pronunziare del ministro i tre nomi" 
Schultze (Die Katalsom&en, p. 136) : "Die Taufdarstdlungen, mkonstantinmher 
Zeit, deren ZaM sieh auf drd bdauft, zeigen tammtlich erwacfe&ne Taufiinge, in 
awe* Fatten Knaben von etwa miolf Jahren, im dritten Fztte einen Jmaling. Der 
Ac* vird durch Untertawheri votissogen." Bean Stanley delights in pictorial 


introduced by Eunomius about 360, but was condemned on pain 
of degradation, yet it reappeared afterwards in Spain, and Pope 
Gregory I. declared botli forms valid, the trine immersion as 
setting forth the Trinity, the single immersion the Unity of the 
Godhead. 1 The Eastern church, however, still adheres strictly 
to the trine immersion. 2 Baptism by pouring water from a 
shell or vessel or from the hand on the head of the candidate 
very early occurs also and was probably considered equiva- 
lent to immersion. 3 The Didache allows pouring in cases of 
scarcity of water. But afterwards this mode was applied only 
to infirm or sick persons; hence called clinical baptism. 4 The 
validity of this baptism was even doubted by many in the third 

exaggeration of the baptismal immersion in patristic times as contrasted with 
modern sprinkling. *' Baptism," he says, * was not only a bath, but a plunge 
an entire submersion in the deep water, a leap as into the rolling sea or the 
rushing river, where for the moment the waves close*over the bather's head, 
and he emerges again as from a momentary grave ; or it was a shock of a 
shower-bath the rush of water passed over the whole person from capacious 
vessels, so as to wrap the recipient as within the veil of a splashing cataract 
This was the part of the ceremony on which the Apostles laid so much siress. 
It was to them like a burial of the old former self and the rising up again of 
the new self." Christian Institutions, (1881), p. 9. See Sehaff, 1. c. p. 41 sqq. 

1 JSp. I. 41 in reply to Leander, bishop of Hispala. Thomas Aquinas 
(Summa TheoL, Tom. IV., 615, ed. Migne) quotes this letter with approval, 
but gives the preference to trina immersiOj as expressing "triduum sepultures 

2 The Russian Orthodox Catechism defines baptism as " a sacrament, in 
which a man who believes, having his body thrice plunged in water in the name 
of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, dies to the carnal life of sin, 
and is born again of the Holy Ghost to a life spiritual and holy." In the case 
of infants the act is usually completed by pouring water over the head, the 
rest of the body being immersed. So I was informed by a Greek priest. 

8 Pouring or affusion is the present practice of the Boman Catholic church. 
It is first found on pictures in the Boman catacombs, one of which De 
Bosssi assigns to the second century (in the cemetry of Calixtus). " It is re- 
markable that in almost all the earlfe&t representations of baptism that have 
been preserved to us, this [the pouring of water from vessels over the bod' ] 
is the special act represented." Marriott in Smith and Cheetham, I. 1*M 
But the art of painting can only represent a part of the act, not the whole 
process ; and in all the Catacomb pictures the candidate stands with the feet in 
water, and is undressed as for immersion, total or partial. 

*"Bapti$mus dinicorum^ (KAtvucoi t from /cAIi^,bed). Cftnicus or yrablntai itts 
designated one who was baptised on the sick bed. 

250 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

century; and Cyprian wrote in its defence, taking the Aground 
that the mm lu of application of water was a matter of minor 
importance, provided that faith was present in the recipient and 
ministraiit. 1 According to ecclesiastical law clinical baptism at 
least incapacitated for the clerical office. 3 Yet the Roman bishop 
Fabian ordained Xovatian a presbyter, though he had been 
baptized on a sick-bed by aspersion. 3 

1 Ep. 69 fill. 75), ad Xagnum. He answered the question as best he could 
in the ab-ence of any ecclesiastical decision at that time. This Epistle, next 
to Tertullian's opposition to infant baptism, is the oldest document in the 
rrmfrnrrm'fil baptismal literature. Cyprian quotes (ch. 12) several passages 
from the 0. T. where "sprinkling" is spoken of as an act of cleansing (Ez. 
36: 25,26; Num. 8: 5-7; 19: 8-13), and then concludes: "Whence it ap- 
pears that sprinkling also of water prevails equally with the salutary washing 
I wlspert'ionem qu 'fqae aquae instar saiutaris lavacri obtinere) ; and that when this 
i.< dune in the church where the faith both of the receiver and the giver is sound 
(ubt sit et accipitntis et dantis fides integra), all things hold and may be consum- 
mated and perfected by the majesty of the Lord and by the truth of faith." 
JBut in the same Ep., Cyprian denies the validity of heretical and schismatic 
baptism in any form. See below, 74. 

- The twelfth canon of the Council of Neo-Csesarea (after 314) ordains : 
** Whosoever has received clinical baptism cannot be promoted to the priest- 
hood, because his [profession of] faith was not from free choice, but from me- 
ce?sity (* avayKW, fear of death), unless he excel afterwards in zeal and faith, 
or there is a deficiency of [able] men." This canon passed into the Corpus 
JUT. can. c. 1 Diet. 57. See Heiele, Conciliengeschj L 249 (2nd ed.). 

3 Pouring and sprinkling were still exceptional in the ninth century accord- 
ing to Walafrid Strabo (De Ed. Ecd., c. 26), but they made gradual progress 
with the spread of infant baptism, as the most convenient mode, especially in 
Northern climates, and came into common use in the West at the end of the 
thirteenth century. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) says, that although it may be 
safer to baptize by immersion, yet pouring and sprinkling are also allowable 
(Summa Theoi P. III. Qu. LXVI. De Bapt. art. 7; in Migne's ed. Tom. IV: 
fol. 614): " Si totum corpus aqud non possit perfundi propter aquce paudfatem, vel 
propter aliqumn aliam causam, opportet caput perfundere, in quo manifestotur prin- 
dpium animalis vitce." In Ireland aspersion seems to have been practiced very 
early along with immersion. "Trine immersion, with the alternative of asper- 
sion, is ordered in the earliest extant Irish Baptismal Office, in the compo- 
sition of which, however, Roman influence is strongly marked." F. E. 
Warren, The Liturgy and fiitual of the Celtic Ctiurch, Oxford (Clarendon Press), 
1S31, p. 65. Prof. Norman Pox and other Baptist writers, think that 
" neither infant baptism nor the use of pouring and sprinkling for baptism 
would ever have been thought of but for the superstitious idea that baptism 
was necessary to salvation." But this idea prevailed among the fathers and 


Thanksgiving, benediction, and the brotherly kiss concluded 
the sacred ceremony. 

Besides these essential elements of the baptismal rite, we find, 
so early as the third century, several other subordinate usages, 
which have indeed a beautiful symbolical meaning, but, like all 
redundancies, could easily obscure the original simplicity of this 
sacrament, as it appears in Justin Martyr's description. Among 
these appendages are the signing of the cross on the forehead 
and breast of the subject, as a soldier of Christ under the banner 
of the cross ; giving him milk and honey (also salt; in token of 
sonship with God, and citizenship in the heavenly Canaan ; also 
the unction of the head, the lighted taper, and the white robe. 

Exorcism, or the expulsion of the devil, which is not to be 
confounded with the essential formula of renunciation, was 
probably practised at first only in special cases, as of demoniacal 
possession. But after the council of Carthage, A. D. 256, we find 
it a regular part of the ceremony of baptism, preceding the bap- 
tism proper, and in some cases, it would seem, several times 
repeated during the course of catechetical instruction. To under- 
stand fully this custom, we should remember that the early 
church derived the whole system of heathen idolatry, which it 
justly abhorred as one of the greatest crimes, 1 from the agency 

in the Greek church fully as much as in the Eoman, while it is rejected in 
most Protestant churches -where sprinkling is practiced. 

Luther sought to restore immersion, but without effect. Calvin took a simi- 
lar view of the subject as Thomas Aquinas, but he went farther and declared 
the mode of application to be a matter of indifference, Ijist. IV. ch. 15, 19: 
" Whether the person who is baptized be wholly immersed (mergatur totus), 
and whether thrice or once, or whether water be only poured (wi/ztsa) or 
sprinkled upon him (aspergatur), is of no importance (minimum refert) : but 
this should be left free to the churches according to the difference of countries. 
Yet the very word baptize signifies to immerse (mergers) ; and it is certain that 
immersion was the practice of the ancient church." Most Protestants agree 
with Calvin, except the Baptists, who revived the ancient practice, but only in 
part (single instead of trine immersion), and without the patristic ideas of bap- 
tismal regeneration, infant baptism, and the necessity of baptism for salvation. 
They regard baptism as a mere symbol which exhibits the fact that regenera- 
tion and conversion have already taken place. 

1 Tertullian calls it "principale Crimea generis humani" (De idoL c. 1), and 
Qyprian, "summum delicUm" (Ep> *.) 

252 SECOND PEBIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

of Satan. The heathen deities, although they had been eminent 
men during their lives, were, as to their animating principle, 
identified with demons either fallen angels or their progeny. 
These demons, as we may infer from many passages of Justin, 
Minutius Felix, Tertullian, and others, were believed to traverse 
the air, to wander over the earth, to deceive and torment 
the race, to take possession of men, to encourage sacrifices, to 
lurk in statues, to speak through the oracles, to direct the flights 
of birds, fco work the illusions of enchantment and necromancy, 
to delude the senses by false miracles, to incite persecution 
against Christianity, and, in fact, to sustain the whole fabric of 
heathenism with all its errors and vices. But even these evil 
spirits were subject to the powerful name of Jesus. Tertullian 
openly challenges the pagan adversaries to bring demoniacs 
before the tribunals, and affirms that the spirits which possessed 
them, would bear witness to the truth of Christianity. 

The institution of sponsors* first mentioned by Tertullian, arose 
no doubt from infant baptism, and was designed to secure Christian 
training, without thereby excusing Christian parents from their 

Baptism might be administered at any time, but was commonly 
connected with Easter and Pentecost, and in the East with 
Epiphany also, to give it the greater solemnity. The favorite 
hour was midnight lit up by torches. The men were baptized 
first, the women afterwards During the week following, the 
neophytes wore white garments as symbols of their purity. 

Separate chapels for baptism, or BAPTISTEKIES, occur first in 
the fourth century, and many of them still remain in Southern 
Europe. Baptism might be performed in any place, whore, as 
Justin says, "water was." Yet Cyprian, in the middle of the 
third century, and the pseudo- Apostolical Constitutions, require 
the element to be previously consecrated, that it may become the 
vehicle of the purifying energy of the Spirit. This corresponded 
to the consecration of the bread and wine in the Lord's Sup- 
per, and involved no transformation of the substance. 


71. The Doctrine of Baptism. 

This ordinance was regarded in the ancient church as the 
sacrament of the new birth or regeneration, and as the solemn 
rite of initiation into the Christian Church, admitting to all her 
benefits and committing to all her obligations. It was sup- 
posed to be preceded, in the case of adults, by instruction on the 
part of the church, and by repentance and faith (i. e. conversion) 
on the part of the candidate, and to complete and seal the spirit- 
ual process of regeneration, the old man being buried, and the 
new man arising from the watery grave. Its effect consists in 
the forgiveness of sins and the communication of the Holy 
Spirit. Justin calls baptism "the water-bath for the forgive- 
ness of sins and regeneration/' and Cl the bafch of conversion and 
the knowledge of God." It is often called also illumination", 
spiritual circumcision, anointing, sealing, gift of grace, symbol 
of redemption, death of sins, &C. 1 Tertullian describes its effect 
thus : "When the soul comes to faith, and becomes transformed 
through regeneration by water and power from above, it dis- 
covers, after the veil of the old corruption is taken away, ite 
whole light. It is received into the fellowship of the Holy 
Spirit } and the soul, which unites itself to the Holy Spirit, is 
followed by the body." He already leans towards the notion 
of a magical operation of the baptismal water. Yet the sub- 
jective condition of repentance and faith was universally required. 
Baptism was not only an act of God, but at the same time the 
most solemn surrender of man to God, a vow for life and 
death, to live henceforth only to Christ and his people. The 
keeping of this vow was the condition of continuance in the 
church ; the breaking of it must be followed either by repent- 
ance or excommunication. 

From John 3: 5 and Mark 16: 16, Tertullian and other 

1 The patristic terms for baptism expressive of doctrine are 
rrahyysveffta (and Tiovrpbv wafayyeveoias, Tit. 3 : 5), faoyheotc, regeneratio, se- 
cwnda or spiritualis iiatimfaa, renascentia, ; also Qariff^G, f&ria/ta, itturnvnaMo, 
(Tftpayie, signaculumj seal, JJLVTJCI^ jMorayuyia, initiation into the mysteries (the sac- 
raments). The sign was almost identified with the thing itself. 

254 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

fathers argued the necessity of baptism to salvation. Clement 
of Alexandria supposed, with the Roman Hennas and others, 
that even the saints of the Old Testament were baptized in 
Hades by Christ or the apostles. But exception was made in 
favor of the bloody baptism of martyrdom as compensating the 
want of baptism with water; and this would lead to the evan- 
gelical principle, that not the omission, but only the contempt 
of the sacrament, is damning. 1 

The effect of baptism, however, was thought to extend only 
to sins committed before receiving it. Hence the frequent 
postponement of the sacrament, 3 which Tertullian very earnestly 
recommends, though he censures it when accompanied "with 
moral levity and presumption. 3 Many, like Constantino the 
Great, put it off to the bed of sickness and of death. They 
preferred the risk of dying unbaptized to that of forfeiting for- 
ever the baptismal grace. Death-bed baptisms were then what 
death-bed repentances are now. 

But then the question arose, how the forgiveness of sins com- 
mitted after baptism could be obtained ? This is the starting 
point of the Korrian doctrine of the sacrament of penance. Ter- 
tullian 4 and Cyprian 5 were the first to suggest that satisfaction 
must be made for such sins by self-imposed penitential exercises ' 
and good works, such as prayers and almsgiving. Tertullian 
held seven gross sins, which he denoted mortal sins, to be un- 
pardonable after baptism, and to be left to the uncovenanted 
mercies of God; but the Catholic church took a milder view, 
and even received back the adulterers and apostates on their 
public repentance. 

1 "Non defectus (or privatio), sed contemtus savramenti damnat." This leaves 
the door open for the salvation of Quakers, unbaptized children, and elect 
heathen who die with a desire for' sal ration. 

2 Procrastinatio baptimi. 

3 So the author of the Apost* Cwistit., VI. 15, disapproves those who say: 

on 5rav T&SVTO, ^airri^ofiat^ Iva fity afiapTqco Kal ftviravQ rb 

4 De Pcenitientia. 

5 De Opere et Eleemosynis* 



In reviewing the patristic doctrine of baptism which was sanctioned by the 
Greek and Roman, and, with some important modifications, also by the Lutheran 
and Anglican churches, we should remember that during the first three centu- 
ries, and even in the age of Constantine, adult baptism was the rule, and that 
the actual conversion of the candidate was required as a condition before ad- 
ministering the sacrament (as is still the case on missionary ground). Hence 
the preceding catechetical instruction, the renunciation of the devil, and the 
profession of faith. But when the same high view is applied without qualifi- 
cation to infant baptism, we are confronted at once with the difficulty that in- 
fants cannot comply with this condition. They may be regenerated (this being 
an act of God), but they cannot be converted, i. e. they cannot repent and believe, 
nor do they need repentance, having not yet committed any actual trans- 
gression. Infant baptism is an act of consecration, and looks to subsequent 
instruction and personal conversion, as a condition to full membership of the 
church. Hence confirmation came in as a supplement to infant baptism. 

The strict Roman Catholic dogma, first clearly enunciated by St. Augustin 
(though with reluctant heart and in the mildest form), assigns all unbaptized in- 
fants to hell on the ground of Adam's sin and the absolute necessity of baptism 
for salvation. A dogma, horribile, butfalswn. Christ, who is the truth, blessed 
unbaptized infants, and declared : " To such belongs the kingdom of heaven." 
The Augsburg Confession (Art. IX.) still teaches against the Anabaptists: 
"guod baptwnus sit necesscirius ad salutem" but the lea-ding Lutheran divines 
reduce the absolute necessity of baptism to a relative or ordinary necessity; 
and the Reformed churches, under the influence of Calvin's teaching, went 
further by making salvation depend upon divine election, not upon the sacra- 
ment, and now generally hold to the salvation of all infants dying in infancy. 
The Second Scotch Confession (A. D. 1580) was the first to declare its abhor- 
rence of "the cruel [popish] judgment against infants departing without the 
sacrament," and the doctrine of "the absolute necessity of baptism." 

72. Catechetical Instruction and Confirmation. 


L CYRIL (Kvpftfof) of Jerusalem (315-386) r Eighteen Catechetical Lec- 
tures, addressed to Catechumens (Karyxfous QUTI&UEVUV), and Five 
Mystagogical Lectures, addressed to the newly baptized. Best ed. by 
Touttee, Par. 1720, reprinted in Migne's Patrol Or. vol. 33. 

AUGUSTUS (d. 430) : De Catechizandis Eudibus. 

II. BINGHAM : Antiquities, X. 2. 

ZEZSCHWITZ (Luth.) : System der christl. Mrchl. Katechetik* Leipzig, 
vol. I. 1863; vol. II. in 2 Parts, 1869 and 1872. 

JOH. MAYER (E. 0.) : Geschichte des Katcchumenats, and der Katechese 
in den ersten sec/is Jahrh. Kempten, 1866. 

A. WEISS (B. C.) : Die altkirchliche Padagogits dargestellt in Eatechumena* 
und Katechese der ersten seeks Jahrh. Freiburg, 1869. 

256 SECOND PEEIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

FB. X. Fura (E. C) : Die Kateckumenats-classen des chrlstl. Alterfhum^ 
in the Tubing. "Theol. Quartalschrift," Tub. 1883, p. 41-77. 

1. THE CATECHTTMENATE or preparation for baptism was a 
very important institution of the early church. It dates sub- 
stantially from apostolic times. Theophilus was "instructed" in 
the main facts of the gospel history ; and Apollos was " instructed " 
in the way of the Lord. 1 As the church was set in the midst of 
a heathen world, and addressed herself in her missionary preach- 
ing in the first instance to the adult generation, she saw the 
necessity of preparing the susceptible for baptism by special 
instruction under teachers called "catechists," who were generally 
presbyters and deacons. 2 The catechumenate preceded baptism 
(of adults) ; whereas, at a later period, after the general intro- 
duction of infant baptism, it followed. It was, on the one hand, 
a bulwark of the church against unworthy members; on the 
other, a bridge from the world to the church, a Christian 
novitiate, to lead beginners forward to maturity. The catechu- 
mens or hearers 3 were regarded not as unbelievers, but as half- 
Christians, and were accordingly allowed to attend all the 
exercises of worship, except the celebration of the sacraments. 
They embraced people of all ranks, ages, and grades of culture, 
even philosophers, statesmen, and rhetoricians, Justin, Athe- 
nagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Arnobius, 
Lactantius, w3io all embraced Christianity in their adult years. 

The Didacke contains in the first six chapters, a high-toned 
moral catechism preparatory to baptism, based chiefly on the 
Sermon on the Mount. 

There was but one or at most two classes of Catechumens. 
The usual division into three (or four) classes rests on confusion 
with the classes of Penitents. 4 

: 4 (/car^tfityf ) ; Acts 18: 25 (Kar^/^vo? ) ; comp. Bom. 2: 18; 
1 Cor. 14: 19 j Gal. 6:6; Heb. 5: 12. The verb Karvxfo means 1) to re- 
sound ; 2) to teach, hy word of mouth ; 3) in Christian writers, to instruct in 
the elements of religion. 

* KaTvxvrai, doctores audientium. The term designates a function, not a spe- 
cial office or class. 

3 KaT7ixf } V?vo'. l aKooarat, wtditores, audi&ntes. 

* >A.Kpo&[un>oi t or auctientes; yovvKMvovree, or genufleetentes ; and $w6nt\oi, 
or competentes. So Ducange, Augusti, Neander, Hofling, Hcfele (in the first 
eel- of his Cbflcifo'e^s"^, but modified in the second, vol. I, 246, 248), 


The catechetical school of Alexandria was particularly re- 
nowned for its highly learned character. 

The duration ' of this catechetical instruction was fixed some- 
times at two years l sometimes at three, 2 but might be shortened 
according to circumstances. Persons of decent moral character 
and general intelligence were admitted to baptism without delay* 
The Councils allow immediate admission in cases of sickness. 

2. CONFIRMATION 3 was originally closely connected with 
baptism, as its positive complement, and was performed by the 
imposition of hands, and the anointing of several parts of the 
body with fragrant balsam-oil, the chrism, as it was called. 
These acts were the medium of the communication of the Holy 
Spirit, and of consecration to the spiritual priesthood. Later, 
however, it came to be separated from baptism, especially in the 
case of infants, and to be regarded as a sacrament by itself. 
Cyprian is the first to distinguish the baptism with water and 
the baptism with the Spirit as two sacraments ; yet this term, 
sacrament, was used as yet very indefinitely, and applied to all 
sacred doctrines and rites. 

The Western church, after the third century, restricted the 
power of confirmation to bishops, on the authority of Acts 8 : 
17; they alone, as the successors of the apostles, being able to 
impart the Holy Ghost. The Greek church extended this func- 
tion to priests and deacons. The Anglican church retains the 
Latin practice. Confirmation or some form of solemn recep- 
tion into full communion on personal profession of faith, after 
proper instruction, was regarded as a necessary supplement to 
infant baptism, and afterwards as a special sacrament. 

witz, Herzog, and many others. Bona and Bingham add even a fourth claw 
(efa&ovfievot). But this artificial classification (as Dr. Funk has shown, I c.) 
arose from a misunderstanding of the fifth canon of Neocaesarea (between 314 
and 325), which mentions one yfov idiivuw, but as representing a class of peni- 
tents, not of catechumens. Suicer, Mayer, and Weiss assume but two classes, 
audi&ntes and competences. Funk maintains that the candidates for baptism 
(Qontfftevoi, competentes or decti baptizandi) were already numbered among the 
feithfdl (fideles), and that there was only one clas* of catechumens. 

* Cone, of Elvira, can. 42. * Const. Apo$t> VIII. 32. 

8 S^ayfc, xpl<*iJ>a, confirmatio, obsigmtio, signaculum. 
Vol. IL 17 

258 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

73. Infant Baptim. 

On IOTANT BAPTISM comp. JUST. M.: Dial c. Tryph. Jud. c. 43. 
IBEN. : Adv. Ear. II. 22, $ 4, compared with III. 17, \ 1, and othei 
passages. TERTUL. : De Baptismo, c. 18. CYPR. : Epist. LIX. ad 
Rdum. CLEM. ALEX. : P&dag. III. 247. ORIG. : Comm. in Rom. 
F. Opp. IV. 565, and ffomil. XIV. in Luc. 

See Lit. in vol. 1. 463 sq., especially WALL. Comp. also W. R. POWERS : 
Irenceus and Infant Baptism, in the "Am. Presb. and Theol. Rev." 
K Y. 1867, pp. 239-267. 

While the church was still a missionary institution in the midst 
of a heathen world, infant baptism was overshadowed by the 
baptism of adult proselytes ; as, in the following periods, upon 
the union of church and state, the order was reversed. At 
that time, too, there could, of course, be no such tiling, even on 
the part of Christian parents, as a compulsory baptism, which 
dates from Justinian's reign, and which inevitably leads to the 
profanation of the sacrament. Constantine sat among the 
fathers at the great Council of Mcsea, and gave legal effect to its 
decrees, aud yet put off his baptism to his deathbed. The cases 
of Gregory of Nazianzum, St. Chrysostom, and St. Augustin, 
who had mothers of exemplary piety, and yet were not baptized 
before early manhood, show sufficiently that considerable free- 
dom prevailed in this respect even in the Nicene and post- 
Nicene ages. Gregory of Nazianzum gives the advice to put 
off the baptism of children, where there is no danger of death, 
to their third year. 1 

At the same time it seems an almost certain fact, though by 
many disputed, that, with the baptism of converts, the optional 
baptism of the children of Christian parents in established con- 
gregations, comes down from the apostolic, age. 2 Pious parents 
would naturally feel a desire to consecrate their offspring from 
the very beginning to the service of the Redeemer, and find a 
precedent in the ordinance of circumcision. This desire would 

1 Qrat. XL. 

* Comp. I. 469 sq. The fact is not capable of positive proof, but rests on 
Btrong probabilities. The Baptists deny it. So does Neander, but he approve 
the practice of infant baptism as springing from the spirit of Christianity, 

i 73. INFANT BAPTISM. 259 

be strengthened in cases of sickness by the prevailing notion of 
the necessity of baptism for salvation. Among the fathers, 
Tertullian himself not excepted for he combats only its 
expediency there is not a single voice against the lawful- 
ness and the apostolic origin of infant baptism. No time caix 
be fixed at which it was first introduced. Tertullian suggests, 
that it was usually based on the invitation of Christ : " Suffer 
the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not." The 
usage of sponsors, to which Tertullian himself bears witness, 
although he disapproves of it, and still more, the almost equally 
ancient abuse of infant communion, imply the existence of infant 
baptism. Heretics also practised it, and were not censured for it 
The apostolic fathers make, indeed, no mention of it. But 
their silence proves nothing ; for they hardly touch upon bap- 
tism at all, except Hennas, and he declares it necessary to 
salvation, even for the patriarchs in Hades (therefore, as we 
may well infer, for children also). Justin Martyr expressly 
teaches the capacity of all men for spiritual circumcision by 
baptism ; and his u all " can with the less propriety be limited, 
since he is here speaking to a Jew. 1 He also says that many 
old men and women of sixty and seventy years of age have been 
from childhood disciples of Christ. 2 Polycarp was eighty-six 
years a Christian, and must have been baptized in early youth. 
According to Irenseus, his pupil and a faithful bearer of Johan- 
nean tradition, Christ passed through all the stages of life, to sanc- 
tify them all, and came to redeem, through himself, " all who 
through him are born again unto God, sucklings, children, boys, 
youths, and adults." 3 This profound view seems to involve an 

1 Did,, c. Tr. c. 43. 

2 Apol I. c. 15 (Otto I. 48) : OS lie ircd6uv c/m&Treinfyffav T$ Xpurrp. 

Adv. Hcer. II. 22, ? 4 : " Omnes venit per semetipsum salvare ; wines, inqucm 
qui per eim renascuntur in Deum, infantes et parvulos et pueros et juvenes c 
seniores. Ideo per omn&m venit aetatem, et infantibus infans factus, sanctificans 
infantes; in parvulis parvdus, sanctificans hanc ipsam habentes aetatem; simul et 
wemplum Mis pietatis efectus et justitia et subjectionis, in juvenibus juvenis" etc. 
Neander, in discussing this passage remarks, that "from this idea, founded on 
what is inmost in Christianity, becoming prominent in the feelings of Chris 
tians, resulted the practice of infant baptism" (I. 312, Boston ed.) 

260 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

acknowledgment not only of the idea of infant baptism* bat 
also of the practice of it; for in the mind of Irenseus and 
the ancient church baptism and regeneration were intimately 
connected and almost identified. 1 In an infant, in fact, any 
regeneration but through baptism cannot be easily conceived, 
A. moral and spiritual regeneration, as distinct from sacra- 
mental, would imply conversion, and this is a conscious act of 
the will, an exercise of repentance and faith, of which the infant 
is not capable. 

In the churches of Egypt infant baptism must have been 
practised from the first. For, aside from some not very clear 
expressions of Clement of Alexandria, Origen distinctly derives 
it from the tradition of the apostles ; and through his jour- 
neys in the East and West he was well acquainted with the 
practice of the church in his time. 2 

1 Ire&3eus speaks of "the washing of regeneration/' and of the "baptism of 
regeneration unto God," rb ^dima^Q, ryg e*f tfe&y kvayew%aeQ$ (Adv. Ha&r. I. 
c. 21, ? 1) ; he identifies the apostolic commission to baptize with the potestas 
regeneration^ in Deum (III. 17, J 1) ; he says that Christ descending into 
Hades, regenerated the ancient patriarchs (III. c. 22, 4 : " in sinum suum 
recvpiens pristinos patres regeneravit eos in vitam Dei"), by which he probably 
meant baptism (according to the fancy of Hennas, Clement of Alex., and 
others). Compare an examination of the various passages of Irenojns in the 
article by Powers, who comes to the conclusion (L c. p. 267) that "Irenoaus 
everywhere implies baptism in the regeneration he so often names." 

2 In Ep. ad Earn. (Opera, vol. IV. col. 1047 ed. Migne; or IV. 565 ed. 
Delarue) : *' Pro hoc et Ecdesia, ab apostolis traditionem suscepit, etiam parvulis 
baptimum dare" In Levti. Horn. VIII. (II. 496 in Migne), he says that 
ft s&undwn EcelesMS observantiam' 1 baptism was given also to children (etitm 
parridis). Comp. his Com. in Matt. XV. (III. 1268 sqq.) where be seems to 
infer this custom from the example of Christ blessing little children. That 
Origen himself was baptized in childhood (185 or soon after), is nowhere ex- 
pressly stated in his works (as far as I know), but may be inferred as probable 
from his descent of, and early religious instruction, by Christian parents (re* 
ported by Eoseb H. E. VI. 19 : r$ 'Optyfaei ra rye Kara Xpurrbv ftdaffKoMaf 
SK irpoy6vuv torero), in connection with the Egyptian custom. Comp. 
Eedepenning, Origenes, 1. 49. It would certainly be more difficult to prove 
that he was not baptized in infancy. He could easily make room for infant 
baptism in his theological system, which involved the Platonic idea of a pre- 
historic fell of the individual soul. But the Cyprianic and Augustinian 
theology connected it with the historic fall of Adam, and the consequent 
hereditary depravity and guilt. 


The only opponent of infant baptism among the fathers is 
the eccentric and schismatic Tertullian, of North Africa. He 
condemns the hastening of the innocent age to the forgh eness 
of sins, and intrusting it with divine gifts, while we would not 
commit to it earthly property. 1 Whoever considers the solem- 
nity of baptism, will shrink more from the receiving, than from 
the postponement of it. But the very manner of Tertullian's 
opposition proves as much in favor of infant baptism as against 
it. He meets it not as an innovation, but as a prevalent cus- 
tom ; and he meets it not with exegetical nor historical argu- 
ments, but only with considerations of religious prudence. His 
opposition to it is founded on his view of the regenerating 
effect of baptism, and of the impossibility of having mortal 
sins forgiven in the church after baptism ; this ordinance cannot 
be repeated, and washes out only the guilt contracted before its 
reception. On the same ground he advises healthy adults, 
especially the unmarried, to postpone this sacrament until they 
shall be no longer in danger of forfeiting forever the grace of 
baptism by committing adultery, murder, apostasy, or any other 
of the seven crimes which he calls mortal sins. On the same 
principle his advice applies only to healthy children, not to 
sickly ones, if we consider that he held baptism to be the in- 
dispensable condition of forgiveness of sins, and taught the 
doctrine of hereditary sin. With him this position resulted 
from moral earnestness*, and a lively sense of the great solem- 
nity of the baptismal vow. But many put off baptism to their 
death-bed, in moral levity and presumption, that they might 
sin as long as they could. 

Tertullian's opposition, moreover, had no influence, at least 
no theoretical influence, even in North Africa. His disciple 
Cyprian differed from him wholly. In his day it was no ques- 
tion, whether the children of Christian parents might and 

1 " Quidfestinat innocens aetas ad retnis&ion&m, peccatorum f " The " innoc&nx " 
here is to be taken only in a relative sense; for Tertullian in other places 
teaches a vitium originis, or hereditary sin and guilt, although not as distinctly 
and clearly as Augustin. 

262 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

should be baptized on this all were agreed, but whether they 
might be baptized so early as the second or third day after 
birth, or, according to the precedent of the Jewish circumcision, 
on the eighth day. Cyprian, and a council of sixty-six bishops 
held at Carthage in 253 under his lead, decided for the earlier 
time, yet without condemning the delay. 1 It was in a measure 
the same view of the almost magical effect of the baptismal 
water, and of its absolute necessity to salvation, which led Cyp- 
rian to hasten, and Tertullian to postpone the holy ordinance ; 
one looking more at the beneficent effect of the sacrament in 
regard to past sins, the other at the danger of sins to come. 

74. Heretioal Baptism. 

Epist. LXX.-LXXVL The Acts of the Councils of Carthage, A. D. 
255 and 256, and the anonymous tractj De ftebaptismatej among 
CYPRIAN'S works, and in ROTTTH'S jReliquice Sacra, vol. v. 283-328. 

HEFELE: ConciliengesMchtej 1. 117-132 (second ed.). 

G. E. STEITZ: Ketsertaufe, in Herzog, rev. ed., VII. 652-661. 

Heretical baptism was, in the third century, the subject of a 
violent controversy, important also for its bearing on the ques- 
tion of the authority of the Eoman see. 

Cyprian, whose Epistles afford the clearest information on 
this subject, followed Tertullian 2 in rejecting baptism by here- 
tics as an inoperative mock-baptism, and demanded that all 
heretics coming over to the Catholic church be baptized (he 
would not say re-baptized). His position here was due to his 
high-church exclusiveness and his horror of schism. As the 
one Catholic church is the sole repository of all grace, there can 
be no forgiveness of sins, no regeneration or communication of 
the Spirit, no salvation, and therefore no valid sacraments, out of 
her bosom. So far he had logical consistency on his side. But, 

1 A later council of Carthage of the year 418 went further and decreed : 
"Item placuit, ut quusunque parwlos recentes ab uteris matrum baptizandos negat 
, . . anathema sit" 

2 De Bavt. c. 15. Comp. also Clement of Alex., Strom. I. 375. 


on the other hand, he departed from the objective view of the 
church, as the Donatists afterwards did, in making the efficacy 
of the sacrament depend on the subjective holiness of the priest. 
" How can one consecrate water," he asks, " who is himself un- 
holy, and has not the Holy Spirit?" He was followed by the 
North African church, which, in several councils at Carthage in 
the years 255-6, rejected heretical baptism ; and by the church 
of Asia Minor, which had already acted on this view, and now, 
in the person of the Cappadocian bishop Firmilian, a disciple 
and admirer of the great Origen, vigorously defended it against 
Borne, using language which is entirely inconsistent with the 
claims of the papacy. 1 

The Eoman bishop Stephen (253-257) appeared for the op- 
posite doctrine, on the ground of the ancient practice of his 
church. 2 He offered no argument, but spoke with the con- 
sciousness of authority, and followed a catholic instinct. He 
laid chief stress on the objective nature of the sacrament, the 
virtue of which depended neither on the officiating priest, nor 
on the receiver, but solely on the institution of Christ. Hence 
he considered heretical baptism valid, provided only it was ad- 
ministered with intention to baptize and in the right form, to 
wit, in the name of the Trinity, or even of Christ alone; so that 
heretics coming into the church needed only confirmation, or 
the ratification of baptism by the Holy Ghost " Heresy," says 
he, "produces children and exposes them; and the church takes 
up the exposed children, and nourishes them as her own, though 
she herself has not brought them forth." 

The doctrine of Cyprian was the more consistent from the 

1 See p. 162. Some Roman divines (Molkenkuhr and Tizzani, as quoted by 
Hefele, p. 121) thought that such an irreverent Epistle as that of Firmilian 
(the 75th among Cyprian's Epp.) cannot be historical, and that the whole story 
of the controversy between Pope Stephen and St. Cyprian must be a fabrica- 
tion ! Dogma versus facts. 

* According to Hippolytus (Philosoph.), the rebaptism of heretics was un- 
known before Callistus, A.D. 218-223. Cyprian does not deny the antiquity 
of the Roman custom, but pleads that truth is better than custom ("guaxi am-- 
wetodo major sit veritate"). Hefele, I. p. 121. The Epistles of Stephen are 
lost, and we must learn his position from his opponents. 

264 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

hierarchical point of view; that of Stephen, from the sacra- 
mental. The former was more logical, the latter more practica 
and charitable. The one preserved the principle of the exclu- 
siveness of the church ; the other, that of the objective force ol 
the sacrament, even to the borders of the opus operatum theory, 
Both were under the direction of the same churchly spirit, anc 
the same hatred of heretics ; but the Roman doctrine is after all 
a happy inconsistency of liberality, an inroad upon the principle 
of absolute exclusiveness, an involuntary concession, that bap- 
tism, and with it the remission of sin and regeneration, therefore 
salvation, are possible outside of Kornan Catholicism. 1 

The controversy itself was conducted with great warmth, 
Stephen, though advocating the liberal view, showed the genu- 
ine papal arrogance and intolerance. He would not even adrnil 
to his presence the deputies of Cyprian, who brought him the 
decree of the African synod, and he called this bishop, who 
in every respect excelled Stephen, and whom the Eoman church 
now venerates as one of her greatest saints, a false Christ and 
false apostle, 2 He broke off all intercourse with the African 
church, as he had already with the Asiatic. But Cyprian and 
Firmilian, nothing daunted, vindicated with great boldness, the 
latter also with bitter vehemence, their different view, and con- 
tinued in it to their death. The Alexandrian bishop Dionysius 
endeavored to reconcile the two parties, but with little success. 
The Valerian persecution, which soon ensued, and the martyr- 
dom of Stephen (257) and of Cyprian (258), suppressed this 
internal discord. 

In the course of the fourth century, however, the Roman 
theory gradually gained on the other, received the sanction 

1 Unless it be maintained that the baptismal grace, if received outside of the 
Catholic communion, is, of no use, but rather increases the guilt (like the 
knowledge of the heathen), and becomes available only by the subjective con- 
version and regular confirmation of the heretic. This was the view of Augus- 
tin ; see Steitz, 1. c., p. 655 sq. 

. * "Pseudocforistum, pseudoa/postolum, et doksum operarium." Firmil. Ad Oyp. 
towards the end (Ep. 75). Hefele"(L 120) calls this unchristian intolerance 
ot Stephen very mildly "vine grosse Unfr&undliehkett." 


of the oecumenical Council of INicsea in 325, was adopted in 
North Africa during the Donatistic controversies, by a Synod of 
Carthage, 348, defended by the powerful dialectics of St. Au- 
gustin against the Donatists, and was afterwards confirmed by 
the Council of Trent with an anathema on the opposite view. 


The Council of Trent declares (Sessio Sept., March 3, 1547, canon 4): 
" If any one says that the baptism, which is even given by heretics in 
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with 
the intention of doing what the church doth, is not true baptism: let him 
be anathema." The Greek church likewise forbids the repetition of 
baptism which has been performed in the name of the Holy Trinity, but 
requires trine immersion. See the Orthodox Conf. Quaest. CII. (in 
SchafPs Creeds II. 376), and the Russian Catch. (II. 493), which says: 
*' Baptism is spiritual birth : a man is born but once, therefore he is also 
baptized but once." But the same Catechism declares "trine immer- 
sion" to be "most essential in the administration of baptism" (II. 491). 

The Roman church, following the teaching of St. Augustin, bases upon 
the validity of heretical and schismatical baptism even a certain legal 
claim on all baptized persons, as virtually belonging to her communion, 
and a right to the forcible conversion of heretics under favorable circum- 
stances. 1 But as there may be some doubt about the orthodox form and 
intention of heretical baptism in the mind of the convert (e. g. if he be a 
Unitarian), the same church allows a conditional rebaptism with the 
formula : " If thou art not yet baptized, I baptize thee," etc. 

Evangelical creeds put their recognition of Roman Catholic or any 
other Christian baptism not so much on the theory of the objective virtue 
of the sacrament, as on a more comprehensive and liberal conception 
of the church. Where Christ is, there is the church, and there are true 
ordinances. The Baptists alone, among Protestants, deny the validity of 
any other baptism but by immersion (in this respect resembling the 
Greek church), but are very far on that account from denying the Chris- 
tian status of other denominations, since baptism with them is only a 
sign (not a means) of regeneration or conversion, which precedes the 
rite and is independent of it. 

1 Augustin thus misinterpreted the "Goge intrare," Luke 14: 22, 23, as justi- 
fying persecution (Ep. ad Bowifac., c. 6). If the holy bishop of Hippo had 
foreseen the fearful consequences of his exegesis, he would have shrunk from it 
in horror. 



75. Literature. 
Comp. the Lit. on the Catacombs, ch. V1L 

FB. MteTEB : Sinnbilder u. Kunstvorstellungen der alien Christen. Al- 
tona, 1825. 

GBUNEISEN: Ueber die Ursachen des Kunstfiasses in den drei ersten 
Jahrhunderten. Stuttg. 1831. 

HELMSD6BFEB : Christl. Kunstsymbolik u. Ikonoyraphie. Frtf. 18S9. 

F. PIPEB : Mythologie u. Symbolik der christl. Kunst- 2 vols. Weimar, 
1847-51. Ueb&r den christl Bilder&reis. Berl. 1852 (p. 3-10). By 
the same : Einleitung in die monumentale Theologie. Gotha, 1867. 

J. B. DE Eossi (E. C.) : De Christianis wonumentis Ix&bv exhibentibus, 
in the third volume of PITBA'S u Spicilegium Solesmense." Paris, 
1855. Also his great work on the Eoman Catacombs (Itoma 
Sotteranea, 1864-1867), and his Archseol. "Bulletin" (Bulletino di 
Archeologia cristiana, since 1863). 

A. WELBY PTOIN (architect and Prof, of Eccles. Antiquities at Oscott, 
a convert to the E. C. Ch., d. 1852) : Glossary of Ecclesiastical Orna- 
ment and Costume. Lond. 1844, 4, third ed. 1868, revised and en- 
larged by B. Smith, with 70 plates. See the art. " Cross." 

P. EAFFAELLE GABRUCCI (Jesuit): Storia dellaArte Cristiana nei primi 
otto secoli della chiesa. Prato, 1872-'80, 6 vols. fol., with 500 magni- 
ficent plates and illustrations. A most important work, but intense- 
ly Eomish. By the same: II erocifisso graffito in casa dei Cesari. 
Eom. 1857. 

FB. BECKEB : Die Darstellung Jesu Christi unter dem Bilde des Fische* 
aiif den Monumenten der Kirche der Katakowiben, erldutert. Breslau, 
1866. The same : Jbas Spott-Crucifix der romischen Kaiserpalaste atw 
dem Anfang des dritten Jahrh. Breslau, 1866 (44 pp.). The same : 
Die Wand-und Deckengemalde der rom. KatcLkomben. Gera, 1876. 

Abb6 Jos. AL. MAE.TIGHTZ- : Diction, des Antiquites Chretiennes. Paris, 
1865, second ed., 1877. (With valuable illustrations). 

F. X. KBAUS (E. C.) : Die christl. Kunst in ihren fruhesten Anfangen. 
Leipzig, 1873 (219 pages and 53 woodcuts). Also several articles 
in his " Eeal-Encyklop. der. christl. Alterthumer," Freiburg i. B. 
1880 sqq. (The cuts mostly from Martigny). 


B. ACHELIS : Das Symbol d. Fisches u. d. Fisckdenkmaler, Marb., 1888. 

C. W. BENNETT : Christian Archaeology, N. York, 1888. 

76. Origin of Christian Art. 

CHRISTIANITY owed its origin ' neither to art nor to science, 
and is altogether independent of both. But it penetrates and 
pervades them with its heaven-like nature, and inspires them 
with a higher and nobler aim. Art reaches its real perfection 
in worship, as an embodiment of devotion in beautiful forms, 
which afford a pure pleasure, and at the same time excite and 
promote devotional feeling. Poetry and music, the most free 
and spiritual arts, which" present their ideals in word and tone, 
and lead immediately from the outward form to the spiritual 
substance, were an essential element of worship in Judaism, and 
passed thence, 'in the singing of psalms, into the Christian church. 

Not so with the plastic arts of sculpture and painting, which 
employ grosser material stone, wood, color >as the medium 
of representation, and, with a lower grade of culture, tend 
almost invariably to abuse when brought in contact with wor- 
ship. Hence the strict prohibition of these arts by the Mono- 
theistic religions. The Mohammedans follow in this respect 
the Jews ; their mosques are as bare of images of living beings 
as the synagogues, and they abhor the image worship of Greek 
and Roman Christians as a species of idolatry. 

The ante-Nicene church, inheriting the Mosaic decalogue, and 
engaged in deadly conflict with heathen idolatry, was at first 
averse to those arts. Moreover her humble condition, her con- 
tempt for all hypocritical show and earthly vanity, her en- 
thusiasm for martyrdom, and her absorbing expectation of the 
speedy destruction of the world and establishment of the mil- 
lennial kingdom, made her indifferent to the ornamental part of 
life. The rigorous Montanists, in this respect the forerunners 
of the Puritans, were most hostile to art. But even the highly 
cultivated Clement of Alexandria put the spiritual worship of 
God in sharp contrast to the pictorial representation of the 
divine. " The habit of daily view/ 3 he says, " lowers the 

U68 SECOND PEKIOb. A. D. 100-311. 

nity of the divine, which cannot be honored, but is only de- 
graded, by sensible material/' 

Yet this aversion to art seems not to have extended to mere 
symbols such as we find even in the Old Testament, as the 
brazen serpent and the cherubim in the temple. At all events, 
after the middle or close of the second century we find the rude 
beginnings of Christian art in the form of significant symbols 
in the private and social life of the Christians, and afterwards 
in public worship. This is evident from Tertullian and other 
writers of the third century, and is abundantly confirmed by 
the Catacombs, although the age of their earliest pictorial re- 
mains is a matter of uncertainty and dispute. 

The origin of these symbols must be found in the instinctive 
desire of the Christians to have visible tokens of religious truth, 
which might remind them continually of their Redeemer and 
their holy calling, and which would at the same time furnish 
them the best substitute for the signs of heathen idolatry. For 
every day they were surrounded by mythological figures, not 
only in temples and public places, but in private houses, on the 
walls, floors, goblets, seal-rings, and grave-stones. Innocent and 
natural as this effort was, it could easily lead, in the less intelli- 
gent multitude, to confusion of the sign with the thing signified, 
and to many a superstition. Yet this result was the less apparent 
in the first three centuries, because in that period artistic works 
were mostly confined to the province of symbol and allegory. 

From the private recesses of Christian homes and catacombs 
artistic representations of holy things passed into public churches 
in the fourth century, but under protest which continued for a 
long tune and gave rise to the violent image controversies which 
were not settled until the second Council of Nicsea (787), in 
favor of a limited image worship. The Spanish Council of 
Elvira (Granada) in 306 first raised such a protest, and pro- 
hibited (in the thirty-sixth canon) "pictures in the church (pio* 
twos in ecclesio), lest the objects of veneration and worship 
should be depicted on the walls." This sounds almost icono- 
clastic and puritanic; but ia view of the numerous ancient pic- 


tures and sculptures in the catacombs, the prohibition must be 
probably understood as a temporary measure of expediency in 
that transition period. 1 

77. The Gross and the Crucifix. 

" Religion des J&euzes, nur du verknupfest in Einem Krauze 
Der Demutk und Kraft doppelte Palme zugleich? (SCHILLER).* 

Comp. the works quoted in ? 75, and the lists in Zockler and Fulda. 

JUSTUS Lirsius (R. C., d. 1606, as Prof, at Louvain) : De Oruce lihri tres, 

ad sacram profanamque historiam utiles. Antw., 1595, and later 

J &.C. GRETSER (Jesuit) : De Crucc Chrisfi rebusque ad earn pertinentibus. 

Ingolst., 1598-1005, 3 vols. 4to; 3rd ed, revised, 1608; also in his 

Opera, Ratisb., 1734, Tom. I.-IIL 
WM. HASLAM: The Cross and the Serpent: being a brief History of tht 

triumph nfthe Cross. Oxford, 1849. 
W. R. ALGER: History of the Cross. Boston, 1858. 
GABB. DE MORTILLET: Le Signe de la Croix avant le Christianisme. 

Paris, 1866. 
A. CH. A. ZESTEBMANN : Die bildliche Darstellung des Krewses und der 

Kreuzigung historisch entwic&elt. Leipzig, 1867 and 1868. 
J. STOCKBAUER (R. 0.) : Kunstgeschichte des Kr&uzes. Scliaffhausen, 

0. ZCECKLER (Prof, in Greifewald) : Das Kreuz Christi. Jteligionshis- 

torische und fcirchlich-archaeologische Untersuchungen. Giitersloh, 

1875 (484 pages, with a large list of works, pp. xiii.-xxiv.). English 

translation by M. G. Evans, Lond., 1878. 
ERNST v. BUNSEN : Das Symbol des Kreinzes bei alien Nationen und die 

IMstehung des Ereuzsymbols der christlichen Kirche. Berlin, 1876. 

(Full of hypotheses.) 
HERMANN FULDA : Das Ereuz und die Kreuzigung. Dine antiquarische 

Unt&rwchung. Breslau, 1878. Polemical against the received views 

since Lipsius. See a full list of literature in Fulda, pp. 299-328. 

E. DOBBERT : Zur JSntstehungsgeschichte des Krauzes, Leipzig, 1880. 


The oldest and dearest, but also the most abused, of the prim- 
itive Christian symbols is the CROSS, the sign of redemption, 
sometimes alone, sometimes with the Alpha and Omega, some- 
times with the anchor of hope or the palm of peace. Upon this 
arose, as early as the second century, the custom of making the 

1 See above, p. 180. * "Der deutschen Muse sctionstes Dittichon." 

270 SECOND PEKIOD. A.. D. 100-311. 

sign of the cross 1 on rising, bathing, going out, eating, in shorty 
on engaging in any affairs of e very-day life; a custom probably 
attended in many cases, even in that age, with superstitious con- 
fidence in the magical virtue of this sign; hence Tertullian 
found it necessary to defend the Christians against the heathen 
charge of worshipping the cross (staurolatria)? 

Cyprian and the Apostolical Constitutions mention the sign 
of the cross as a part of the baptismal rite, and Lactantius speaks 
of it as effective against the demons in the baptismal exorcism. 
Prudentius recommends it as a preservative against temptations 
and bad dreams. We find as frequently, particularly upon or- 
naments and tombs, the monogram of the name of Christ, X P, 
usually combined in the cruciform character, either alone, or 
with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, "the first and the 
last;" in later cases with the addition: "In the sign." 3 Soon 
after Constantine's victory over Maxentius by the aid of the 
Labarum (312), crosses were seen on helmets, bucklers, stand- 
ards, crowns, sceptres, coins and seals, in various forms. 4 

1 Signaculum, or slgnum crucis- 

2 Apol c. 16; Ad Nat. 1. 12. Julian the Apostate raised the same charge 
against the Christians of his day. 

8 "In signo," i. e. "In hoc signo vinces," the motto of Constantine. 
4 Archaeologists distinguish seven or more forms of the cross ; 

(a) crux decussata (St. Andrew's cross), x 

(6) crux comtnissa (the Egyptian cross), "f 

(c) crw immissa or ordinaria (the upright Latin cross), "["" 

(d) The inverted Latin cross of St. Peter, who considered himself un- 
worthy to suffer in the upright position like his Lord, _L 

(e) The Greek cross, consisting of four equally long arms, + 
(/) The double cross, - - 

(g) The triple cross (used by the Pi/pe), p- 
The chief forms of the monogram are : 1 

* t. X * ... . 

The story of the miraculous invention and raising of the true cross of Christ 
by Helena, the mother of Consiantine, belongs to the Nicene age. The con- 
nection of the cross with the a and w arose from the Apocalyptic designation 
of Christ (Rev. 1: 8; 21: 6; 22: 13), which is thus explained by Prudentius 
(Cathm. hymn. IX. 10-12) : 


The cross was despised by the heathen Komans on account 
of the crucifixion, the disgraceful punishment of slaves and the 
worst criminals; but the Apologists reminded them of the 
unconscious recognition of the salutary sign in the form of their 
standards and triumphal symbols, and of the analogies in na- 
ture, as the form of man with the outstretched arm, the flying- 
bird, and the sailing ship. 1 Nor was the symbolical use of the 
cross confined to the Christian church, but is found among the 
ancient Egyptians, the Buddhists in India, and the Mexicans 
before the conquest, and other heathen nations, both as a sym- 
bol of blessing and a symbol of curse. 2 

The cross and the Lord's Prayer may be called the greatest 
martyrs in Christendom. Yet both the superstitious abuse and 
the puritanic protest bear a like testimony to the significance of 
the great fact of which it reminds us. 

The CRUCIFIX, that is the sculptured or carved representation 
of our Saviour attached to th,e cross, is of much later date, and 
cannot be clearly traced beyond the middle of the sixth cen- 

" Alpha et Omega cognominatus; ipsefons et dausufa, 
Omnia qu& sunt, juerunt, quosque postfulura sunt" 

1 Minut. Felix, Octav. c. 29 : ct Tropcsa vestra wcfncia non tantum simplicit 
crucisfaciem, verum etiam adfxi hominis imitantur. Signum sane Gratis naturalitet 
visimus m navi, cum velis tumentibus vehitur, cum, expansis palmulis labitur ; et cum 
crigitur jugum, crucis signum est; et cum homo porrectis manibus Deum pura mentt 
veneratur. Ita signo crucis aut raiw natwd'is innititur, aut vestra religio forma- 
far" Comp. a very similar passage in Tertul., Apol. c. 16 ; and Ad Nat* 1. 12 ; 
also Justin M., Apol. I. 55. 

2 When the temple of Serapis was destroyed (A. D. 390), signs of the cross 
were found beneath the hieroglyphics, and heathen and Christians referred it 
to their religion. Socrates, H.E.V. 17; Sozomenus, VII. 15; Theodoret 
V. 22. On the Buddhist cross see Medhurst, China, p. 217. At the discovery 
of Mexico the Spaniards found the sign of the cross as an object of worship 
in the idol temples at Anahuac. Preacott, Conquest of Mexico, TIL 338-340. 
See on the heathen use of the Cross, Haslam, Mortillet, Zockler (1. c., 7 sqq.) t 
and Brinton, Myths of the New World ; also an article on '* The pre-CAnsto'an 
Cross," in the "Edinburgh Review," Jan, 1870. Zockler says (p. 95): "Attei 
Fluch wid Segen, alles Todeselend und die Lebensherrlichkeit, die durch du 
vorchristtiche Menschheit ausg&brdtet gewesen, erscheinen in dem J&euze auj 
Golgotha concentrirt zum vwndervolkten QebUde der religios 

ynseres Geschlechtes" 

272 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

toy. It is not mentioned by any writer of the Nicene and 
Chalcedonian age. One of the oldest known crucifixes, if not 
the very oldest, is found in a richly illuminated Syrian copy of 
the Gospels in Florence from the year 586. 1 Gregory of Tours 
(d, 595) describes a crucifix in the church of St. Genesius, in 
Narbonne, which presented the crucified One almost entirely 
naked. 2 But this gave offence, and was veiled, by order of tha 
bishop, with a curtain, and only at times exposed to the people. 
The Venerable Bede relates that a crucifix, bearing on one side 
the Crucified, on the other the serpent lifted up by Moses, was 
brought from Rome to the British cloister of Weremouth in 
686. 3 


The first symbol of the crucifixion was the cross alone ; then followed 
the cross and the lamb either the lamb with the cross on the head or 
shoulder, or the lamb fastened on the cross ; then the figure of Christ in 
connection with the cross either Christ holding it in his right hand (on 
the sarcophagus of Probus, d. 395), or Christ with" the cross in the back- 
ground (in the church of St. Pudentiana, built 398) ; at last Christ nailed 
to the cross. 

An attempt has been made to trace the crucifixes back to the third 
or second century, in consequence of the discovery, in 1857, of a mock- 
crucifix on the wall in the ruins of the imperial palaces on the western 
declivity of the Palatine hill in Eome, which is preserved in the Museo 
Kircheriano. It shows the figure of a crucified man with the head of an 
ass or a horse, and a human figure kneeling before it, with the inscrip- 
tion: "Alexamenos worships his God. 7 '* This figure was no doubt 
scratched on the wall by some heathen enemy to ridicule a Christian 
slave or page of the imperial household, or possibly even the emperor 
Alexander Severus (222-235), who, by his religious syncretism, exposed 
himself to sarcastic criticism. The date of the caricature is uncertain ; 
but we know that in the second century the Christians, like the Jews 

1 See Becker, L c., p. 38, Westwood's Pdceographia Sacra, and Smith and 
Cheetham, I 515. 

De Gloria Martyrum, lib. I. c. 28. 

8 Opera, ed. Giles, iv. p. 376. A crucifix is found ?n an Irish MS. written 
about 800. See Westwood, as quoted in Smith and Cheetham, I. 516. 

4 'Afegdpevoe atper [cu] $e6v. The monument was first published by the 
Jesuit Garrucci, and is fully discussed by Becker in the essay quoted. 4 
woodcut is also given in Smith and Cheetham, I. 516. 


before them, were charged with the worship of an ass, and that at that 
time there were already Christians in the imperial palace. 1 After the 
daird century this silly charge disappears. Roman archaeologists (P. 
Garrucci, P. Mozzoni, and Martigny) infer from this mock-crucifix that 
crucifixes were in use among Christians already at the close of the second 
century, since the original precedes the caricature. But this conjecture 
is not supported by any evidence. The heathen Csecilius in Minucius 
Felix (ch. 10) expressly testifies the absence of Christian simulacra. As 
the oldest pictures of Christ, so far as we know, originated not among 
the orthodox Christians, but among the heretical and half heathenish 
Gnostics, so also the oldest known representation of the crucifix was a 
mock-picture from the hand of a heathen an excellent illlustration of 
the word of Paul that the preaching of Christ crucified is foolishness to 
the Greeks. 

78. Other Christian Symbcls. 

The following symbols, borrowed from the Scriptures, were 
frequently represented in the catacombs, and relate to the virtues 
and duties of the Christian life : The dove, with or without the 
olive branch, the type of simplicity and innocence; 2 the ship, 
representing sometimes the church, as safely sailing through the 
flood of corruption, with reference to Noah's ark, sometimes the 
individual soul on its voyage to the heavenly home under the 
conduct of the storm-controlling Saviour; the palm-branch, 
which the seer of the Apocalypse puts into the hands of the 
elect, as the sign of victory; 3 the anchor, the figure of hope; 4 
the lyre, denoting festal joy and sweet harmony ; 5 the cock, an 
admonition to watchfulness, with reference to Peter's fall ; 6 the 
hart which pants for the fresh water-brooks; 7 and the vine 
which, with its branches and clusters, illustrates the union of 

1 Comp. on the supposed bvoTiarpeta of the Christians, Tertullian, ApoL 3. 15 
("Nam et somniastis caput aminum esse Deum nostrum' 9 etc.) ; Ad mticmes I- 
11, 14; Minut. Felix, Octav. 9. Tertullian traces this absurdity to Cornelius 
Tacitus, who charges it upon the Jews (Hist. V. 4). 

Comp. Matt. 3: 16; 10: 16; Gen. 8: 11; Cant. 6: 9. 

8 Kev. 7 : 9. The palm had a similar significance with the heathen. Horace 
Yiites (Od. 1. 1) : "Palmaque nobUis Terrarum dominos evehft ad deo*." 

* Heb. 6 : 19. Likewise among the heathen. 

* Comp. Eph. 5 : 19. 

6 Matt. 26: 34, and parallel passages. 
'Ps.42: 1. 
Vol. II. 18 

274 SECOND PERIOD, A.D. 100-311. 

the Christians with Christ according to the parable, and the 
richness and joyfulness of Christian life. 1 

The phenix, a symbol of rejuvenation and of the resurrection, 
is derived from the well-known heathen myth. 2 

79. Historical and Allegorical Pictures. 

From, these emblems there was but one step to iconographic 
representations. The Bible furnished rich material for his- 
torical, typical, and allegorical pictures, which are found in the 
catacombs and ancient monuments. Many of them date from 
the third or even the second century. 

The favorite pictures from the Old Testament are Adam and 
Eve, the rivers of Paradise, the ark of Noah, the sacrifice of 
Isaac, the passage through the Eed Sea, the giving of the law, 
Moses smiting the rock, the deliverance of Jonah, Jonah naked 
under the gourd, the translation of Elijah, Daniel in the lions 7 
den, the three children in the fiery furnace. Then we have 
scenes from the Gospels, and from apostolic and post-apostolic 
history, such as the adoration of the Magi, their meeting with 
Herod, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, the healing of the 
paralytic, the changing of water into wine, the miraculous feed- 
ing of five thousand, the ten virgins, the resurrection of Lazarus, 
the entry into Jerusalem, the Holy Supper, the portraits of St. 
Peter and St. Paul. 3 

1 John 15 : 1-6. The parables of the Good Shepherd, and of the Vine and 
the Branches, both recorded only by St. John, seem to have been the most 
prominent in the mind of the primitive Christians, as they are in the cata- 
combs. "What they valued" (says Stanley, Christ. Iwt., p. 288), " what they 
felt, was a new moral influence, a new life stealing through their veins, a new 
health imparted to their frames, a new courage breathing in their faces, like 
wine to a weary laborer, like sap in the hundred branches of a spreading tree, 
like juice in the thousand clusters of a spreading vine." But more important 
than this was the idea of vital union of the believers with Christ and among 
each other, symbolized by the vine and its branches. 

2 The fabulous phenix: is nowhere mentioned in the Bible, and is first used 
by Clement of Rome, Ad Cor. c. 25, and by Tertullian, De Evwrr. c. 13. Comp. 
Pliny, Hist. Nat. XIII. 4. 

8 For details the reader is referred to the great illustrated works of Ferret, 
De Rossi, Gfarrucci, Parker, Eoller, Northcote aad Brownlow, etc. 


Tlie passion and crucifixion were never represented in the 
early monuments, except by the symbol of the cross. 

Occasionally we find also mythological representations, as 
Psyche with wings, and playing with birds and flowers (an em- 
blem of immortality), Hercules, Theseus, and especially Orpheus, 
who with Ms magic song quieted the storm and tamed the wild 

Perhaps Gnosticism had a stimulating effect in art, as it had 
in theology. At all events the sects of the Carpocratians, the 
Basilideans, and the Manichaeans cherished art. Nationality also 
had something to do with this branch of life. The Italians are by 
nature an artistic people, and shaped their Christianity according- 
ly. Therefore Eome is preeminently the home of Christian art. 

The earliest pictures in the catacombs are artistically the best, 
and show the influence of classic models in the beauty and grace 
of form. From the fourth century there is a rapid decline to 
rudeness and stiffness, and a transition to the Byzantine type. 

Some writers 1 have represented this primitive Christian art 
merely as pagan art in its decay, and even the Good Shepherd 
as a copy of Apollo or Hermes. But while the form is often 
an imitation, the spirit is altogether different, and the myths are 
understood as unconscious prophecies and types of Christian 
verities, as in the Sibylline books. The relation of Christian 
art to mythological art somewhat resembles the relation of bibli- 
cal Greek to classical Greek. Christianity could not at once 
invent a new art any more than a new language, but it emanci- 
pated the old from the service of idolatry and immorality, filled 
it with a deeper fiaeaning, and consecrated it to a higher aim. 

The blending of classical reminiscences and Christian ideas 
is best embodied in the beautiful symbolic pictures of the Good 
Shepherd and of Orpheus. 2 

The former was the most favorite figure, not only in the 
Catacombs, but on articles of daily use, as rings, cups, and 

1 Raoul-Bochette (M&noires swr les antiquits chr&iennes ; and Tableau, des 
Gatocombes), and Betian (Mare-Awtte, p. 542 sqq.). 
See the illustrations at the end of the volume. 

276 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

lamps. Nearly one hundred and fifty such pictures have come 
down to us. The Shepherd, an appropriate symbol of Christ, 
is usually represented as a handsome, beardless, gentle youth, in 
light costume, with a girdle and sandals, with -the flute and pas-, 
toral staff, carrying a lamb on his shoulder, standing between 
two or more sheep that look confidently up to him. ^ Sometimes 
he feeds a large flock on green pastures. If this was the popu- 
lar conception of Christ, it stood in contrast with the contempo- 
raneous theological idea of the homely appearance of the 
Saviour, and anticipated the post-Constantinian conception. 

The picture of Orpheus is twice found in the cemetery of 
Domitilla, and once in that of Callistus. One on the ceiling in 
Domitilla, apparently from the second century, is especially 
rich : it represents the mysterious singer, seated in the centre on 
a piece of rock, playing on the lyre his enchanting melodies to 
wild and tame animals the lion, the wolf, the serpent, the 
horse, the ram at his feet and the birds in the trees ; l around 
the central figure are several biblical scenes, Moses smiting the 
rock, David aiming the sling at Goliath (?), Daniel among the 
lions, the raising of Lazarus, The heathen Orpheus, the re- 
puted author of monotheistic hymns (the Orphica), the centre 
of so many mysteries, the fabulous charmer of all creation, 
appears here either as a symbol and type of Christ himself, 2 or 
rather, like the heathen Sibyl, as an antitype and unconscious 
prophet of Christ, announcing and foreshadowing Him as the 
conqueror of all the forces of nature, as the harmoniiier of all 
discords, and as ruler over life and death, 

80. Allegorical Representations of Chrisi 
Pictures of Christ came into use slowly and gradually, as the 
conceptions concerning his personal appearance changed. The 

1 Comp. Horace, De Arte Poet., 391 sqq. 

Sikestres homines sacer tnt&rpresque deorwn 
Gzdibus et victufado deterruit Orpheus, 
Dictus ob hoc lenire tigres rabidosgue kones. 

1 This is the explanation of nearly all archaeologists since Bosio, except 
Schultze (Die Katak., p. 105). 


Evangelists very wisely keep profound silence on the subject, 
and no ideal which human genius may devise, can do justice to 
Him who was God manifest in the flesh. 

In the ante-Nicene age the strange notion prevailed that our 
Saviour, in the state of his humiliation, was homely, according 
to a literal interpretation of the Messianic prophecy : " He hath 
no form nor comeliness." l This was the opinion of Justin 
Martyr/ Tertullian, 3 and even of the spiritualistic Alexan- 
drian divines Clement/ and Origen. 5 A true and healthy 
feeling leads rather to the opposite view; for Jesus certainly 
had not the physiognomy of a sinner, and the heavenly purity 
and harmony of his soul must in some way have shone through 
the veil of his flesh, as it certainly did on the Mount of Trans- 
figuration. Physical deformity is incompatible with the Old 
Testament idea of the priesthood, how much more with the idea 
of the Messiah. 

Those fathers, however, had the state of humiliation alone in 
their eye. The exalted Redeemer they themselves viewed as 
clothed with unfading beauty and glory, which was to pass 
from Him, the Head, to his church also, in her perfect millennial 
state. 6 We have here, therefore, not an essential opposition 

1 Isa.53: 2, 3; 52: 14; comp. Ps. 22. 

2 Dwlo c. Iryphone Judoeo c. 14 (elf rrjv irp&Tijv irapoveiav rov Xptarov, fa <$ 
Kal oLTifJLog Kal aeidrjf Kal iIH^rdf Qavfiffsa'd-at KKqpvy/jivo ecr/v); c. 49 
(TraiVdf Kal ar^og Kal oi%); 85, 88, 100, 110, 121. 

3 Adv. Jud. c. 14 : '* ne aspectu quidem honestus" and then he quotes Isa. 
53 : 2 sqq. ; 8 : 14 ; Ps. 22. De carne Christi, c. 9 : "nee hur/iance honestatis 
corpus fuit, nedum ccelestis daritatis" 

* Paedag. III. 1, p, 252 ; Strom. lib. II. c. 5, p. 440; IH. c. 17, p. 559 ; VI. 
c. 17, p. 818 (ed. Potter). 

6 Contr. Cels. VI. c. 75, where Origen quotes from Celsus that Christ's person 
did not differ from others in grandeur or beauty or strengf-h, but was, as the 
Christians report, "little, ill-favored and ignoble" (rb itfya fiKpbv KOI Svasites 
Kal a-yevte jjv). He admits the "ill-favored," but denies the "ignoble," and 
doubts the "little," of which there is no certain evidence. He then quotes the 
language of Isaiah 53, but adds the description of Ps, 45 : 3, 4 (Sept.), which 
represents the Messiah as a king arrayed in beauty. Celsus used this false 
tradition of the supposed uncomeliness of Jesus as an argument against his 
divinity, and an objection to the Christian religion. 

6 Comp. Tertullian, Adv. Jud. c. 14 (Opera, ed. Oehler IT. 740), where he 

278 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

made between holiness and beauty, but only a temporary sepa- 
ration. Nor did the ante-Nicene fathers mean to deny that 
Christ, even in the days of his humiliation, had a spiritual 
beauty which captivated susceptible souls. Thus Clement of 
Alexandria distinguishes between two kinds of beauty, the out- 
ward beauty of the flesh, which soon fades away, and the 
beauty of the soul, which consists in moral excellence and is 
permanent. " That the Lord Himself," he says, " was uncomely 
in aspect, the Spirit testifies by Isaiah : ' And we saw Him, and 
he had no form nor comeliness ; but his form was mean, inferior 
to men/ Yet who was more admirable than the Lord ? But 
it was not the beauty of the flesh visible to the eye, but the 
true beauty of both soul and body, which He exhibited, which 
in the former is beneficence ; in the latter that is, the flesh 
immortality." 1 Chrysostom went further: he understood 
Isaiah's description to refer merely to the scenes of the passion, 
and took his idea of the personal appearance of Jesus from the 
forty-fifth Psalm, where be is represented as " fairer than the 
children of men/' Jerome and Augustin had the same view, 
but there was at that time no authentic picture of Christ, and 
the imagination was left to its own imperfect attempts to set 
forth that human face divine which reflected the beauty of sin- 
less holiness. 

The first representations of Christ were purely allegorical. 
He appears now as a shepherd, who lays down his life for the 

quotes Dan. 7: 13 sq., and Ps. 45: 3, 4, for the heavenly beauty and 
glory of the exalted Saviour,, and says : u Primo sordibus indutus est, id est 

carnis passibilis et mortdis indignitate dehinc spoliatus pristine, sorde, 

exornatMS podere et mitra et tidari munda, id est secundi adventus; quoniam 
gloriam et honorem adeptus demonstrator." Justin Martyr makes the same dis- 
tinction between the humility of the first and the glory of the second appear* 
ance. Dial. c. Ttyph. Jud. c. 14 and c. 49, etc. So does Origen in the passage 
just quoted. 

1 Paedag. lib. III. c. 1, which treats of true beauty. Compare also the last 
chapter in the second book, which ia directed against the extravagant fondness 
of females for dress and jewels, and contrasts with these meretricious orna- 
ments the true beauty of the soul, which ''blossoms out in the flesh, exhibiting 
the amiable comeliness of self-control, whenever the character, like a beam of 
light, gleams in the form." 


sheep/ or carries the lost sheep on his shoulders ; 2 now as a 
lamb, who bears the sin of the world; 3 more rarely as a ram, 
with reference to the substituted victim in the history of Abra- 
ham and Isaac; 4 frequently as a fisher. 5 Clement of Alex- 
andria, in his hymn, calls Christ the " Fisher of men that are 
saved, who with his sweet life catches the pure fish out of the- 
hostile flood in the sea of iniquity ." 

The most favorite symbol seems to have been that of the fish. 
It was the double symbol of the Redeemer and the redeemed. 
The corresponding Greek ICHTHYS is a pregnant anagram, con- 
taining the initials of the words : " Jesus Christ, Son of God, 
Saviour." 6 In some pictures the mysterious fish is swimming 
in the water with a plate of bread and a cup of wine on 
his back, with evident allusion to the Lord's Supper. At the 
same time the fish represented the soul caught in the net of 
the great Fisher of men and his servants, with reference to 
Matt. 4 : 19 ; comp. 13 : 47. Tertullian connects the symbol 
with the water of baptism, saying : 7 " We little fishes 
(pisGiGuli) are born by our Fish (secundum 'IXQTN nos- 
trum), Jesus Christ, in water, and can thrive only by con- 
tinuing in the water ; " that is if we are faithful to our bap- 

1 John 10 : 11. Comp. above, p. 276. 

2 Luke 15: 3-7; comp. Isa. 40: 11; Ez. 34: 11-15; Ps. 23. 
sjohnl: 29; 1 Pet. 1 : 19; Rev.5: 12. *Gen.22: 13. 
Christ calls the apostles "fishers of men," Matt. 4 : 19. 

'IX9TS = 'I-qaov? %.-pwrbg Q-eov Y-I6f 2-wr#p. Comp. Augustin, De Civii. 
Dd xviii. 23 (Jesus Chrisfas Dei Filius Safoator). The acrostic in the 
Sibylline Books (lib. viii. vs. 217 sqq.) adds to this word oravp6^ the cross. 
Schultze (KataL, p. 129), not satisfied with this explanation, goes back to Matt, 
7 : 10, where fiflh (lx$fy ) and serpent (fyq) are contrasted, and suggested a 
contrast between Christ and the devil (comp. Apoc. 12 : 14, 15 ; 2 Cor. 11 : 3). 
Bather artificial. Merz derives the symbol from fyov (hence btpaptov in John 
21 : 9) in the sense of " fish, flesh." In Palestine fish was, next to bread, the 
principal food, and a savory accompaniment of bread. It figures prominently 
in the miraculous feeding of the multitude (John 6: 9, 11), and in the meal 
of the risen Saviour on the shores of the Lake of Tiberias (John 21 : 9- 
bty&ptov Kol aprov). By an allegorical stretch, the fish might thus become to 
the mind of the early church a symbol of Christ's body, as the heavenly foci 
which he gave for the salvation of men (John 6 : 51). 

7 De Baptismo, c. 1. 

280 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

tismal covenant, and preserve the grace there received. The 
pious fancy made the fish a symbol of the whole mystery of 
the Christian salvation. The anagrammatic or hieroglyphic 
use -of the Greek ICHTHYS and the Latin PiBCis-Cii JUSTUS 
belonged to the DisGiplina Arcani, and was a testimony of the 
ancient church to the faith in Christ's person as the Son of God, 
and his work as the Saviour of the world. The 'origin of this 
symbol must be traced beyond the middle of the second century, 
perhaps to Alexandria, where there was a strong love for 
mystic symbolism, both among the orthodox and the Gnostic 
heretics. 1 4 It is familiarly mentioned by Clement of Alexan- 
dria, Origen, and Tertullian, and is found on ancient remains 
in the Roman catacombs, marked on the grave-stones, rings, 
lamps, vases, and wall-pictures. 2 

The Ichthys-symbol went out of use before the middle of 
the fourth century, after which it is only found occasionally as 
a reminiscence of olden times. 

Previous to the time of Constantine, we find no trace of an 
image of Christ, properly speaking, except among the Gnostic 
Carpocratians, 3 and in the case of the heathen emperor Alex- 
ander Severus, who adorned his domestic chapel, as a sort of 
syncretistic Pantheon, with representatives of all religions. 4 
The above-mentioned idea of the uncomely personal appearance 

1 So Pitra, De Pisce symbolico, in " Spicil. Solesm./' III. 524. Comp; Mar- 
riott, The Testimony of the Catacombs, p. 120 sqq. 

a The oldest Ichthys-monument known so far was discovered in 186f5 in the 
Ccemeterium Domitillse, a hitherto inaccessible part of the Eoman catacombs, 
and is traced by Cavalier De Eossi to the first century, by Becker to the first 
half of the second. It is in a wall picture, rep-resenting three persona with 
three loaves of bread and a fish. In other pictures we find fish, bread, and 
wine, with evident allusion to the miraculous feeding (Matt. 15 : 17), and the 
meals of the risen Saviour with his disciples (Luke, ch. 24; John, ch. 21). 
Paulinus calls Christ "paras ipse verus et aqua vivce piscis." See the interesting 
illustrations in Garrucci, Martigny, Kraus, and other archaeological works. 

8 Irenseus, Adv. Haer. I. 25. The Carpocratians asserted that even Pilate 
ordered a portrait of Christ to be made. Comp. Hippolytua, Phttos., VII. c. 
32; Epiphanius, Adv. Haer. XXVL 6; Augustin, De Ear. c. 7. 

*Apollonius, Orpheus, Abraham, and Christ See Lampridius, Vita Alex. 


or Jesus, the entire silence of the Gospels about it, and the Old 
Testament prohibition of images, restrained the church from 
making either pictures or statues of Christ, until in the Nicene 
age a great change took place, though not without energetic and 
long-continued opposition. Eusebius gives us, from his own 
observation, the oldest report of a statue of Christ, which was 
said to have been erected by the woman with the issue of blood, 
together with her own statue, in memory of her cure, before 
her dwelling at Csesarea Philippi (Paneas). 1 But the same 
historian, in a letter to the empress Constantia (the sister of 
Constantine and widow of Licinius), strongly protested against 
images of Christ, who had laid aside his earthly servant form, 
and whose heavenly glory transcends the conception and artistic 
skill of man. 2 

81. Pictures of the Virgin Mary. 

DE Eossi: Imagines selectee Deiparce Virginis (Rome, 1863); MAR- 
RIOTT: Catacombs (Lond. 1870, pp. 1-63); MARTIGBTY: Diet, sub 
"Vierge;" KRAUS: Die christl Eunst (Leipz. 1873, p. 105); 
NORTHCOTE and BROWNLOW : Roma Softer. (2 nd ed. Lond. 1879, 
Pt. II. p. 133 sqq.); WlTHROW: Catacombs (N. Y. 1874, p. 305 
sqq.); SCHULTZE: Die Marienbilder der altchristl. Kunst, and 
Die Katacomben (Leipz. 1882, p. 150 sqq.); VON LEHNER: Die 
Marienverehrung in den 3 ersten Jahrh. (Stuttgart, 1881, p. 282 sqq.). 

It was formerly supposed that no picture of the Virgin 
existed before the Council of Ephesus (431), which condemned 
Nestorius and sanctioned the theotokos, thereby giving solemn 
sanction and a strong impetus to the cultus of Mary. But 
several pictures are now traced, with a high degree of proba- 
bility, to the third, if not the second century. From the first 

i JET. E. VII. 18. Comp. Matt. 9 : 20. Probably that alleged statue of 
Christ was a monument of Hadrian, or some other emperor to whom the 
Phoenicians did obeisance, in the form of a kneeling woman. Similar repre- 
sentations are seen on coins, particularly from the age of Hadrian. Julian 
the Apostate destroyed the two statues, and substituted his own, which was 
riyen by lightning (Sozom. V. 21). 

* A fragment of this letter is preserved in the acts of the iconoclastic Coun- 
cil of 754, and in the sixth act of the Second Council of Niccea, 787. See 
Euseb. Opp. ed, Migne, II. col. 1545, and Harduin, Cone. IV. 406. 

282 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

five centuries nearly fifty representations of Mary have so far 
been brought to the notice of scholars, most of them in connec- 
tion with the infant Saviour. 

The oldest is a fragmentary wall-picture in the cemetery of 
Priscilla : it presents Mary wearing a tunic and cloak, in sitting 
posture, and holding at her breast the child, who turns his face 
round to the beholder. Near her stands a young and 
beardless man (probably Joseph) clothed in the pallium, holding 
a book-roll in one hand, pointing to the star above with the 
other, and looking upon the mother and child with the ex- 
pression of joy ; between and above the figures is the star of 
Bethlehem; the whole represents the happiness of a family 
without the supernatural adornments of dogmatic reflection. 1 
In the same cemetery of Priscilla there are other frescos, 
representing (according to De Eossi and Garrucci) the annuncia- 
tion by the angel, the adoration of the Magi, and the finding 
of the Lord in the temple. The adoration of the Magi (two or 
four, afterwards three) is a favorite part of the pictures of the 
holy family. In the oldest picture of that kind in the cemetery 

1 See the picture in De Eossi, Plate iv., Northcote and Brownlow, P)ale xx 
(II. 140), and in Scliultze, jEtefc., p. 151. De Rossi (" Bulletino," 1865, 23, as 
quoted by N/and B.) declares it either coeval with the first Christian art, or 
little removed from it, either of the age of the FJavii or of Trajan and 
Hadrian, or at the very latest, of the first Antonines. " On 'the roof of this 
tomb there was figured in fine stucco the Good Shepherd between two sheep, 
and some other subject, now nearly defaced." De Rossi supports his view of 
the high antiquity of this Madonna by the superior, almost classical style of 
art, and by the fact that the catacomb of Priscilla, the mother of Pudens, is 
one of the oldest. But J. H. Parker, an experienced antiquary, assigns this 
picture to A. D. 523. The young man is, according to De Rossi, Isaiah or 
some other prophet; but Marriott and Schultze refer him to Joseph, which is 
more probable, although the later tradition of the Greek church derived from 
the Apocryphal Gospels and strengthened by the idea of the perpetual vir- 
ginity, represents him as an old man with several children from a previous 
marriage (the brethren of .Tesus, changed into cousins by Jerome and the 
Latin church). JSTorthcote and Brownlow (II. 141) remark: "St. Joseph 
certainly appears in some of the sarcophagi ; and in the most ancient of them 
as a young and beardless man, generally clad in a tunic. In the mosaics of 
St. Mary Major's, which are of the fifth century, and in which he appears 
four or five times, he is shown of mature age, if not old ; and from that tim* 
forward this became the more common mode of representing him.'' 


of SS. Peter and Marcellinus, Mary site on a chair, holding 
the babe in her lap, and receiving the homage of two Magi, 
one on each side, presenting their gifts on a plate. 1 In later pic- 
tures the manger, the ox and the ass ; and the miraculous stai 
are added to the scene. 

The frequent pictures of a lady in praying attitude, with 
uplifted, or outstretched arms (Orans or Orante), especially 
when found in company with the Good Shepherd, are explained 
by Roman Catholic archaeologists to mean the church or the 
blessed Virgin, or both- combined, praying for sinners. 2 But 
figures of praying men as well as women are abundant in the 
catacombs, and often represent the person buried in the adjacent 
tomb, whose names are sometimes given. No Ora pro nobis, 
no Ave Maria, no Theotokos or Deipara appears there. The 
pictures of the Orans are like those of other women, and show 
no traces of Mariolatry. Np-arly all the representations in the 
catacombs keep within the limits of the gospel history. But 
after the fourth century, and in the degeneracy of art, Mary 
was pictured in elaborate mosaics, and on gilded glasses, as the 
crowned queen of heaven, seated on a throne, in bejewelled 
purple robes, and with a nimbus of glory, worshipped by angels 
and saints. 

The noblest pictures of Mary, in ancient and modern times, 
endeavor to set forth that peculiar union of virgin purity and 
motherly tenderness which distinguish "the Wedded Maid 

1 See Plate xx. in N. and B. n. 140. Schultze (p. 153) traces this picture 
to the beginning of the third century. 

2 According to the usual Roman Catholic interpretation of the apocalyptic 
rision of the woman clothed with the sun, and bringing forth a man-child 
[12: 1, 5). Cardinal Newman reasons inconclusively in a letter to Dr. Pusey - 
)n his Eirenicon (p. 62) : " I do not deny that, under the image of the woman, 
he church is signified ; but .... the holy apostle would not have spoken of 
Jie church under this particular image unless there had existed a blessed 
Virgin Mary, who was exalted on high, and the object of veneration of all 
,he faithful." When accompanied by the Good Shepherd the Orans is sup- 
posed by Northcpte and Brownlow (II. 137) to represent Mary as the new 
Eve, as the Shepherd is the new Adam. It must be admitted that the paralle 1 
>etween Mary and Eve is as old as Irenseus, and contains the fruitful germ of 
Mariolatry, but in those pictures no such contrast is presented. 

284 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

and Virgin Mother " from ordinary women, and exert such a 
powerful charm upon the imagination and feelings of 
Christendom. No excesses of Mariolatry, sinful as they are, 
should blind us to the restraining and elevating effect of con- 
templating, with devout reverence, 

* The ideal of all womanhood, 
So mild, so merciful, so strong, so good, 
So patient, peaceful, loyal, loving, pure." 



82. Literature. 

Oomp. the works quoted in ch. VI, especially GARRTJCCI (6 vols.), and 
the Table of Illustrations at the end of this volume. 

I. Older works. By Bosio (Roma, Sotterranea, Rom. 1632 ; abridged 

edition by P. GIOVANNI SEVERANI da S. Severino, Bom. 1710, 
very rare); BOLDETTI (1720); BOTTARI (1737); D'AGINCOTJRT 
(1825) ; ROSTELL (1830) ; MARCHI (1844) ; MAITLAND (The Church 
in the Catacombs, Lond. 1847); LOT/IS PERRET (Catacombes de 
Home, etc. Paris, 1853 sqq. 5 vols., with 325 splendid plates, but 
with a text that is of little value, and superseded). 

II. More recent works. 

*Giov ANNI BATTISTA DE Rossi (the chief authority on the Catacombs) : 
La Roma Sotterranea Cristiana descritta et illustrata, publ. by order 
of Pope Pio Nono, Roma (cromolitografia Pontificia), Tom. 1. 1864, 
Tom. II. 1867, Tom. III. 1877, in 3 vols. fol. with two additional 
vols. of plates and inscriptions. A fourth volume is expected. 
Comp. his articles in the bimonthly "Bulletino di archeologia 
Cristiana," Rom. 1863 sqq., and several smaller essays. Roller 
calls De Rossi " le fouilleur le mieux qualifie', fervent catholique, mais 
critique serieuz*" 

*J. SPENCER NORTHCOTE (Canon of Birmingham) and W. R. BROWNLOW 
(Canon of Plymouth): Roma Sotterranea. London (Longmans, 
Green & Co., 1869; second edition, "rewritten and greatly enlarged," 
1879, 2 vols. The first vol. contains the History, the second, Chris- 
tian Art. This work gives the substance of the investigations of Com- 
mendatore De Rossi by his consent, together with a large number of 
chromo-lithographic plates and wood-engravings, with special refer- 
ence to the cemetery of San Callisto. The vol. on Inscriptions is 
separate, see below. 

F. X, KRAUS (R C.), Roma Sotterranea. Die Rom. Katakomben. 
Freiburg, i. B. (1873), second ed. 1879. Based upon De Kossi and 
the first eel. of Northcote & Brownlow. 

D. DE RICHEMONT : Les catacombes de Rome. Paris, 1870. 

WHARTON B. MARRIOTT, B. S. F. S. A. (Ch. of England) : The Testi* 


286 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

mony of the Catacombs and of other Monuments of Christian Art from 
the second to the eighteenth century, concerning questions of Doctrine 
now disputed in the Church. London, 1870 (223 pages with illustra- 
tions). Discusses the monuments referring to the cultus of the 
Virgin Mary, the supremacy of the Pope, and the state after death. 

F. BECKER : Horns altchristliche Cometerien. Leipzig, 1874. 

W. H. WITHROW (Methodist) : The Catacombs of Rome and their Testi- 
mony relative to Primitive Christianity. New York (Nelson & 
Phillips), 1874. Polemical against Romanism. The author says 
(Pref., p. 6): "The testimony of the catacombs exhibits, more 
strikingly than any other' evidence, the immense contrast between 
primitive Christianity and modern Romanism." 

JOHN P. LUNDY (Episc.) : Monumental Christianity: or the Art and 
Symbolism of the Primitive Church as Witnesses and Teachers of the 
one Catholic Faith and Practice. New York, 1876. New ed. en- 
larged, 1882, 453 pages, richly illustrated. 

*JoHN HENRY PARKER (Episc.) : The Archaeology of Rome. Oxford 
and London, 1877. Parts IX. and x. : Tombs in and near Rome, 
and Sculpture ; Part xn. : The Catacombs. A standard work, with 
the best illustrations. 

* TH&OPHILE ROLLER (Protest.) : Les Gatacombes de Rome. Histoire de 

Vart et des croyances religieuses pendant les premiers sibcles du Ckris- 
tianisme. Paris, 1879-1881, 2 vols. fol. 720 pages text and 100 excel- 
lent plates en heliogravure, and many illustrations and inscriptions. 
The author resided several years at Naples and Rome as Reformed 

M. ARMELLINI (R. C.): Le Catacombe Romane descritte. Roma, 1880 
(A popular extract from De Rossi, 437 pages). By the same the 
more important work: II Cimiterio di S. Agnese sulla via Nomentana. 
Rom. 1880. 

DEAN STANLEY: The Roman Catacombs, in his "Christian Institutions." 
Lond. and N. York, 1881 (pp. 272-295). 

* VICTOR SCHTTLTZE (Lutheran) : Archceologische Studien uber altchrist- 

liche Mbnumente. Mt 26 Holzschnitten. Wien, 1880 j Die Kata- 
komben. Die altchristlichen Grabstatten. Ihre Geschichte und ihre 
Mbnumente (with 52 illustrations). Leipzig, 1882 (342 pages) ; Die 
Katakomben von San Gennaro dei Poveri in NeapeL Jena, 1877, 
Also the pamphlet : Der theolog. Ertrag der Katalcombenforsc.hung. 
Leipz. 1882 (30 pages). The last pamphlet is against Harnack's 
review, who charged Schultze with overrating the gain of the 
catacomb-investigations (see the " Theol. Literaturzeitung," 1S82.J 

Bishop W. J. KIP : The Catacombs of Rome as illustrating the Church 
of the First Three Centuries. N. York, 1853, 6th ed., 1887 (212 pages). 

K. RONNEKE : Rom's christliche Katahomben. Leipzig, 1886. 

Comp. also EDMUND YENABLES in Smith and Chcctham, 1. 294-317; 


on the Roman Catac. in u The Contemp. Review." voL XVII. 160- 
175 (April to July, 1871) ; the relevant articles in the Archaeol. Diets, 
of MARTIGNY and KRAUS, and the Archaeology of BENNETT (1888). 

III. Christian Inscriptions in the catacombs and other old monuments. 

*Commendatore J. B. DE Eossi : Inscriptions Christiana Urbis Roma 
septimo seculo antiquiores. Romse, 1861 (XXIII. and 619 pages). 
Another vol. is expected. The chief work in this department, 
Many inscriptions also in his Roma Sott. and " Bulletino." 

EDWARD LE BLANT : Inscriptions chretiennes de la Oaule anterieures au 
VIIIme siecle. Paris, 1856 and 1865, 2 vols. By the same: Manuel 
d' Jj/pigraphie chretienne. Paris, 1869, 

JOHN McCAUL : Christian Epitaphs of the First Six Centuries. Toronto, 
1869. Greek and Latin, especially from Eome. 

F. BECKER : Die Inschriften der romischen Cometerien. Leipzig, 1878. 

* J. SPENCER NORTHCOTE (E. C. Canon of Birmingham) : Epitaphs of 
the Catacombs or Christian Inscriptions in Rome during the First Four 
Centuries. Lond., 1878 (196 pages). 

G. T. STOKES on Greek and Latin Christian Inscriptions; two articles in 

the "Contemporary Review" for 1880 and 1881. 

V. SCHULTZE discusses the Inscriptions in the fifth section of his work 
Die Katakomben (1882), pp. 235-274, and gives the literature. 

The Corpus Incriptionum Gr&carum by BOCKH, and KIRCHHOFF, 
and the Corpus Ins'criptionum Zat , edited for the Berlin Academy by 
TH. MOMMSBK and others, 1863 sqq. (not yet completed), contain 
also Christian Inscriptions. Prof. E. HUBNEK has added those of 
Spain (1871) and Britain (1873). G. PETRIE has collected the Chris- 
tian Inscriptions in the Irish language, ed. by STOKES. Dublin, 
1870 sqq. Comp. the art. "Inscriptions," in Smith and Cheetham, 

83. Origin and JBfetory of the Catacombs. 

THE Catacombs of Eome and other cities open a new chapter 
jf Church history, which has recently been dug up from the 
bowels of the earth. Their discovery was a revelation to the 
world as instructive and important as the discovery of the long 
lost cities of Pompeii and Herculaneura, and of Nineveh and 
Babylon. Eusebius says nothing about them; the ancient 
Fathers scarcely allude to them, except Jerome and Prudentius, 
and even they give us no idea of their extent and importance. 
Hence the historians till quite recently have passed them by in 

288 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

silence. 1 But since the great discoveries of Commendatore 
De Eossi and other archaeologists they can no longer be ignored. 
They confirm, illustrate, and supplement our previous know- 
ledge derived from the more important literary remains. 

The name of the Catacombs is of uncertain origin, but is 
equivalent to subterranean cemeteries or resting-places for the 
dead. 2 First used of the Christian cemeteries in the neighbor- 
hood of Home, it was afterwards applied to those of Naples, 
Malta, Sicily, Alexandria, Paris, and other cities. 

It was formerly supposed that the Roman Catacombs were 
originally sand-pits (arenarice) or stone-quarries (lapididnce), 
excavated by the heathen for building material, and occasionally 
used as receptacles for the vilest corpses of slaves and criminals/* 
But this view is now abandoned on account of the difference of 
construction and of the soil. A few of the catacombs, however, 
about five out of thirty, are more or less closely connected with 
abandoned sand-pits. 4 

1 Mosheim and Gibbon in the last century, and even Neander, Gieseler, and 
Baur, in our age, ignore the very existence of the catacombs, except that 
Gieseler quotes the well-known passage of Jerome. But Dean Milman, in his 
History of Christianity, Hase, Kurtz, Kraus, and others, in their manuals, take 
brief notice of them. 

2 KaraKvju/Siov, catacumba,, also (in some MSS.) catatumba. Various deriva- 
tions: 1) From Kara (down from, downwards, as in Karafiaivu, KardKSiiLUu, 
KaransfjLTru}, and rfyu/fof (compare the late Latin tumba, the French tonibe, 
tombeau, and the English tomb, grave], i. e. a tomb down in the earth, as distinct 
from tombs on the surface. This corresponds best to the thing itsejf. 2) Frony 
KCLT& and Kotp&u (to sleep), which would make it equivalent to Mi^ri^m^ 
dormitorium, skeping place. 3) From KUT& and ri^fa (the hollow of ajdssel) or 
Kvpfog (cup), Kv/iftiov (a small cup, Lat. cymbium), which would simply give us 
the idea of a hollow place. So Venahles in Smith and Cheetham, Very un- 
likely. 4) A hybrid term from Kard and the Latin decumbo, to lie down, to 
recline. So Marchi, and Northcote and Brownlow (I. 263). The word first 
occurs in a-Christian calendar of the third or fourth century (in Catacumbas), 
and in a letter of Gregory I. to the Empress Constantia, towards the end of 
the sixth century (Epp. III. 30), with a special local application to San 
Sebastian. The earlier writers use the terms Koiwrfpta, cometeria (whence our 
wnetery), also cryptce, crypts. 

9 So Aringhi, Baronius, Severano, Bottari, Boldetti, and all writers prior to 
Marchi, and his pupils, the two brothers De Rossi, who turned the current of 
opinion. See Northcote and Br. I. 377 sqq. 

The sand-pits and stone-quarries were made wide enou^fc for a horse an<* 


The catacombs, therefore, with a few exceptions, are of Chris- 
tian origin, and were excavated for the express purpose of 
Christian burial. Their enormous extent, and the mixture of 
heathen with Christian symbols and inscriptions, might suggest 
that they were used by heathen also ; but this is excluded by 
the fact of the mutual aversion of Christians and idolaters to 
associate in life and in death. The mythological features are 
few, and adapted to Christian ideas. 1 

Another erroneous opinion, once generally entertained, re- 
garded the catacombs as places of refuge from heathen persecu- 
tion. But the immense labor required could not have escaped 
the attention of the police. They were, on the contrary, the 
result of toleration. The Roman government, although (like 
all despotic governments) jealous of secret societies, was quite 
liberal towards the burial clubs, mostly of the poorer classes, 
or associations for securing, by regular contributions, decent in- 
terment with religious ceremonies. 2 Only the worst criminals, 

cart, and are cut in the tufa, litoide and pozsolana pura, which furnish the 
best building material in Kome ; while the catacombs have generally very 
narrow passages, run in straight lines, often cross each other at sharp angles, 
and are excavated in the tufa granulare, which is too soft for building-stone* 
and too much mixed with earth to be used for cement, but easily worked, and 
adapted for the construction of galleries and chambers. See Northcote and 
Br. I. 376-390. The exceptions are also stated by these authors. J. EL 
Parker has discovered loeuli for Christian burial in the recesses of a deserted 

1 See the remarks of Northcote and Br. I. 276 against J. H. Parker, who 
asserts the mixed use of the catacombs for heathens and Christians. 

2 This view is supported by Professor Mommsen, the Eoman historian, who 
says (in "Contemporary Review," vol. xxvii.p. 168): "Associations of poor 
people who clubbed together for the burial of their members were not only 
tolerated but supported by the imperial government, which otherwise was very 
strict against associations. From this point of view, therefore, there was no 
legal impediment to the acquisition of these properties. Christian association* 
have from the very beginning paid great attention to their burials ; it was con- 
sidered the duty of the wealthier members to provide for the burial of the 
poor, and St. Ambrose still allowed churches to sell their communion plate, in 
order to enlarge the cemeteries of the faithful. The catacombs show what 
could be achieved by such means at Kome. Even if iheir fabulous dimensions 
are reduced to their right measure, they form an immense work, without 
beauty and ornament, despising in architecture and inscription not only pomp 

Vol. II. 19, 

290 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-31U 

traitors, suicides, and those struck down by lightning (touched 
by the gods) were left unburied. The pious care of the dead is 
an ifistinct of human nature, and is found among all nations. 
Death is a mighty leveler of distinctions and preacher of tolera- 
tion and charity ; even despots bow before it, and are reminded 
of their own vanity ; even hard hearts are moved by it to pity 
and to tears. " De mortuis nihil nisi loniJtm" 

The Christians enjoyed probably from the beginning the 
privilege of common cemeteries, like the Jews, even without an 
express enactment. Galienus restored them after their tem- 
porary confiscation during the persecution of Valerian (260). 1 

Being mostly of Jewish and Oriental descent, the Roman 
Christians naturally followed the Oriental custom of cutting 
their tombs in rocks, and constructing galleries. Hence the 
close resemblance of the Jewish and Christian cemeteries in 
Rome. 2 The ancient Greeks and Romans under the empire 
were in the habit of burning the corpses (crematio) for sanitary 

and empty phraseology, but even nicety and correctness, avoiding the splendor 
and grandeur as well as the tinsel and vanity of the life of the great town that 
was hurrying and throbbing above, the true commentary of the words of 
Christ ' My kingdom is not of this world/ " 
1 Euseb. H. E. VII. 13: I, r& TQV 

* Boiler says (in Lichtenberger's Encyd. des Sc. Ed. II. 685). "Les juifi 
ensevelissaient dans le roc. A Rome its out creuse de grandes catacombes presqw 
idmtiques d ceUes des Chretiens- Oeux-ci ont $t$ lews imitateurs. Les Etrusques 
9e serwtent OMSSI de grottes; mais Us ne les reliaient point par des gtieries 
ittimitees." Dean Stanley (L c, p. 274): "The Catacombs are the standing 
monuments of the Oriental and Jewish character, even of Western Chris- 
tianity. The fact that they are the counterparts of the rock-hewn tombs of 
Palestine, and yet more closely of the Jewish cemeteries in the neighborhood 
of Borne, corresponds to the fact that the early Boman Church was not a 
Latin but an Eastern community, speaking Greek and following the usages of 
Syria. And again, the ease with which the Boman Christians had recourse to 
these cemeteries is an indication of the impartiality of the Boraan law, which 
extended (as De Bossi has well pointed out) to this despised sect the same 
protection in regard to burial, even during the times of persecution, that was 
accorded to the highest in the land. They thus bear witness to the uncon- 
scious fostering care of the Imperial Government over the infant church. 
They aw thus monuments, not BO much of the persecution as of the toleration 
which the Christians received at the bands of the Roman Empire/' 


reasons, but burial in the earth (humcdio), outside of the city 
near the public roads, or on hills, or in natural grottos, was 
the older custom ; the rich had their own sepulchres (sepukra). 

In their catacombs the Christians could assemble for worship 
and take refuge in times of persecution. Very rarely they 
were pursued in these silent retreats. Once only it is re* 
ported that the Christians were shut up by the heathen in a 
cemetery and smothered to death. 

Most of the catacombs were constructed during the first three 
centuries, a few may be traced almost to the apostolic age. 1 After 
Constantino, when the temporal condition of the Christians im- 
proved, and they could bury their dead without any disturbance 
in the open air, the cemeteries were located above ground, 
especially above the catacombs, and around the basilicas, or on 
other land purchased or donated for the purpose. Some cata- 
combs owe their origin to individuals or private families, who 
granted the use of their own grounds for the burial of their 
brethren; others belonged to churches. The Christians wrote 
on the graves appropriate epitaphs and consoling thoughts, and 
painted on the walls their favorite symbols. At funerals they 
turned these dark and cheerless abodes into chapels ; under the 
dim light of the terra-cotta lamps they committed dust to dust, 
ashes to ashes, and amidst the shadows of death they inhaled 
the breath of the resurrection and life everlasting. But it is an 
error to suppose that the catacombs served as the usual places of 
worship in times of persecution ; for such a purpose they were 
entirely unfitted ; even the largest could accommodate, at most, 
only twenty or thirty persons within convenient distance. 2 

1 De Rossi (as "quoted by Northcote and Brownlow, 1. 112): '* Precisely in 
those cemeteries to which history or tradition assigns apostolic origin, I see, in 
the light of the most searching archaeological criticism, the cradle hoth of 
Christian subterranean sepulchres, of Christian art> and of Christian inscrip- 
tions ; there I find memorials of persons who appear to belong to the times / 
the Flavii and of Trajan; and finally I discover precise dates of those times/' 

2 Schultze (Die Eatak., p. 73 and 83) maintains in opposition to Marchi, 
that the catacombs were nothing but burial places, and used only for the 
burial service, and that the little chapels (ecdesiol(s) were either private se- 
pulchral chambers or post-Constantinian structures. 

292 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

The devotional use of the catacombs began in the Mcene age, 
and greatly stimulated the worship of martyrs and saints. 
When they ceased to be used for -burial they became resorts of 
pious pilgrims. Little chapels were built for -the celebration of 
the memory of the martyrs. St. Jerome relates/ how, while a 
school-boy, about A. r>. 350, he used to go with his companions 
every Sunday to the graves of the apostles and martyrs in the 
crypts at Borne, "where in subterranean depths the visitor 
passes to and fro between the bodies of the entombed on both 
walls, and .where all is so dark, that the prophecy here finds its 
fulfillment : The living go down into Hades. 2 Here and there 
a ray from above, not falling in through a window, but only 
pressing in through a crevice, softens the gloom ; as you go on- 
ward, it fades away, and in the darkness of night which sur- 
rounds you, that verse of Virgil comes to your mind : 

* Horror ubique animos, simul ipsa silentia terrent." 3 

The poet Prudentius also, In the beginning of the fifth century, 
several times speaks of these burial places, and the devotions 
held within them. 4 

Pope Damasus (366-384) showed his zeal in repairing and 
decorating the catacombs, and erecting new stair-cases for the 
convenience of pilgrims. His successors kept up the interest, 
but by repeated repairs introduced great confusion into the 
chronology of the works of art. 

The barbarian invasions of Alaric (410), Genseric (455), 
Ricimer (472), Vitiges (537), Totila (546), and the Lombards 
(754), turned Eome into a heap of ruins and destroyed many 
valuable treasures of classical and Christian antiquity. But 
the pious barbarism of relic hunters did much greater damage, 

1 Om. in Ez. ch. 40. 

* He refers to such passages as Ps. 55 : 15 ; Num. 16 : 3& 

" Horror on every side, and terrible even the silence** 
Or in German : 

a Gfrauen rings um mich her } und sckreckoott sdber die Stilte* 
* Peristeph. XI. 153 sqq. 


The tombs of real and imaginary saints were rifled, and cart- 
loads of dead men's bones were translated to the Pantheon and 
churches and chapels for more convenient worship. In this 
way the catacombs gradually lost all interest, and passed into 
decay and complete oblivion for more than six centuries. 

In the sixteenth century the catacombs were rediscovered, 
and opened an interesting field for antiquarian research. The 
first discovery was made May 31, 1578, by some laborers in a 
vineyard on the Via Salaria, who were digging pozsolana, and 
came on an old subterranean cemetery, ornamented with Chris- 
tian paintings, Greek and Latin inscriptions and sculptured 
sarcophagi. "In that day," says De Bossi, "was born the 
name and the knowledge of Roma Sotterranea." One of the 
first and principal explorers was Antonio Bosio, " the Columbus 
of this subterranean world." His researches were published 
after his death (Roma, 1632). Filippo Neri, Carlo Borromeo, 
and other restorers of Romanism spent, like St. Jerome of old, 
whole nights in prayer amid these ruins of the age of martyrs. 
But Protestant divines discredited these discoveries as inventions 
of Romish divines seeking in heathen sand-pits for Christian 
saints who never lived, and Christian martyrs who never died. 1 

In the present century the discovery and investigation of the 
catacombs has taken a new start, and is now an important 
department of Christian archaeology. The dogmatic and sec- 
tarian treatment has given way to a scientific method with the 
sole aim to ascertain the truth. The acknowledged pioneer in 
this subterranean region of ancient church history is the 
Cavalier John Baptist de Rossi, a devout, yet liberal Roman 
Catholic. His monumental Italian work (Roma Sotterranea, 
1864r-1877) has been made accessible in judicious condensations 
to French, German, and English readers by Allard (1871), 

1 E. g. Bishop Burnet (who visited the catacombs in 1685) : Letters from 
Italy and SiffUzerland in 1685 and 1686. He believed that the catacombs were 
the common burial places of the ancient heathen. G. S. Cyprian (1699), J. 
Basnage (1699), and Peter Zorn (1703), wrote on the subject in polemical in- 
terest against Borne. 

294 SECOND PEKIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Kraus (1873 and 1879), Northcote & Brownlow (1869 and 
1879). Other writers, Protestant as well as Eoman Catholic, 
are constantly adding to our stores of information. Great pro- 
gress has been made in the chronology and the interpretation 
of the pictures in the catacombs. 

And yet the work is only begun. More than one half of 
ancient Christian cemeteries are waiting for future exploration. 
De Eossi treats chiefly of one group of Eoman catacombs, that 
of Callistus. The catacombs in Naples, Syracuse, Girgenti, 
Melos, Alexandria, Gyrene, are very imperfectly known ; still 
others in the ancient apostolic churches may yet be discovered, 
and furnish results as important for church history as the dis- 
coveries of Ilium, Mycense, and Olyrupia for that of classical 

84. Description of the Catacombs. 

The Eoman catacombs are long and narrow passages or gal- 
leries and cross-galleries excavated in the bowels of the earth 
in the hills outside and around the city, for the burial of the 
dead. They are dark and gloomy, with only an occasional ray 
of light from above. The galleries have two or more stories, 
all filled with tombs, and form an intricate net-work or subter- 
ranean labyrinth. Small compartments (loculi) were cut out 
like shelves in the perpendicular walls for the reception of the 
dead, and rectangular chambers (cubicula) for families, or dis- 
tinguished martyrs. They were closed with a slab of marble 
or tile. The more wealthy were laid in sarcophagi. The ceiling 
is flat, sometimes slightly arched. Space was economized so as 
to leave room usually only for a single person ; the average 
width of the passages being 2| to 3 feet. This economy may 
be traced to the poverty of the early Christians, and also to 
their strong sense of community in life and in death. The 
little oratories with altars and episcopal chairs cut in the tufa 
are probably of later construction, and could accommodate only 
a few persons at a time. They were suited for funeral services 
and private devotion, but not for public worship. 


The galleries were originally small, but gradually extended 
to enormous length. Their combined extent is counted by 
hundreds of miles, and the number of graves by millions. 1 

The oldest and best known of the Roman cemeteries is that 
of St. SEBASTIAN, originally called Ad Cataoumbas, on the 
Appian road, a little over two miles south of the city walls. 
It was once, it is said, the temporary resting-place of the bodies 
of St. Peter and St. Paul, before their removal to the basilicas 
named after them ; also of forty-six bishops of Borne, and of a 
large number of martyrs. 

The immense cemetery of Pope CALLISTUS (218-223) on the 
Via Appia consisted originally of several small and independent 
burial grounds (called Lucinse, Zephyrini, Callisti, Hippoliti). 
It has been thoroughly investigated by De Eossi. The most 
ancient part is called after Lucina, and measures 100 Eoman 
feet in breadth by 180 feet in length. The whole group bears 
the name of Callistus, probably because his predecessor, 
Zephyrinus "set him over the cemetery" (of the church of 
Rome). 2 He was then a deacon. He stands high in the esti- 
mation of the Roman church, but the account given of him by 
Hippolytus is quite unfavorable. He was certainly a remarkable 
man, who rose from slavery to the highest dignity of the church. 

1 1 hesitate to state the figures. Eoman archaeologists, as Marchi, J. B. de 
Eossi and his brother Michael de B. (a practical mathematician), Martigny 
and others estimate the length of the Eoman catacombs variously at from 350 
to 900 miles, or as " more than the whole length of Italy" (Northcote and 
Brownlow, I. 2). Allowance is made for from four to seven millions of 
graves I It seems incredible that there should have been so many Christians 
in Borne in four centuries, even if we include the numerous strangers. All 
such estimates are purely conjectural. See Smith and Cheetham, I. 301. 
Smyth (I c p. 15) quotes tfcawlinson as saying that 7,000,000 of graves in 400 
years' time gives an average population of from 500,000 to 700,000. Total 
population of Borne, 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 at the beginning of the empire. 

This is so stated by Hippolytus, Philosoph. IX. 11. Zephyrinus was buried 
there contrary to the custom of burying the popes in St. Peter's crypt in the 
Vatican. Callistus was hurled from a window in Trastevere, and hastily re- 
moved to the nearest cemetery on the Via Aurelia. The whole report ot 
Hippolytus about Callistus is discredited by Northcote and Brownlow (I. 497 
qq.), but without good reason. 

296 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

The cemetery of DOMITILLA (named in the fourth century 
St. Petronillse, Nerei et Achillei) is on the Via Ardeatina, and 
its origin is traced back to Flavia Domitilla, grand-daughter or 
great-grand-daughter of Vespasian. She was banished by 
Domitian (about A. D. 95) to the island of Pontia "for pro- 
fessing Christ." 1 Her chamberlains (eunuehi cubicularii), 
Nerus and Achilleus, according to an uncertain tradition, were 
baptized by St. Peter, suffered martyrdom, and were buried in 
a farm belonging to their mistress. In another part of this 
cemetery De Eossi discovered the broken columns of a subter- 
ranean chapel and a small chamber with a fresco on the wall, 
which represents an elderly matron named " Veneranda," and a 
young lady, called in the inscription " PETRCXNILLA martyr," 
and pointing to the Holy Scriptures in a chest by her side, as 
the proofs of her faith. The former apparently introduces the 
latter into Paradise. 3 The name naturally suggests the legend- 
ary daughter of St. Peter. 3 But Koman divines, reluctant to 
admit that the first pope had any children (though his marriage 
is beyond a doubt from the record of the Gospels), understand 
Petronilla to be a spiritual daughter, as Mark was a spiritual 
son, of the apostle (1 Pet. 5: 13), and make her the daughter 
of some Roman Petronius or Petro connected with the family 
of Domitilla. 

Other ancient catacombs are those of Prsetextatus, Priscilla 
(St. Silvestri and St. Marcelli), Basilla (S. Hermetis, Basillse, 
Proti, et Hyacinthi), Maximus, St. Hippolytus, St. Laurentius, 
St. Peter and Marcellinus, St. Agnes, and the Ostrianum (Ad 
Nymphas Petri, or Fons Petri, where Peter is said to have bap- 
tised from a natural well). De Eossi gives a list of forty-two 

1 Eusebius, H. E. III. 18. De Rossi distinguishes two Christian Domi- 
tillas, and defends this view against Mommsen. See " Bulletino," 1875, pp. 
69-77, and Mommsen, Corp. Inscript. Lat. t Tom. VI. p. 172, as quoted by 
Northcote and Br. L 86. See also Mommsen in "The Contemp. Review,'' 
XVII. 169 pq. ; Lightfoot. Phi'Iippians, p. 22, and & Clement of R, 257. 

'See the picture in Northcote and Br. L 182, and on the whole subject of 
Petronilla, pp. 122, 176-186. 

1 Acta Sanct. Maii, III. 11, 


greater or lesser cemeteries, including isolated tombs of martyrs, 
in and near Rome, which date from the iirst four centuries, and 
are mentioned in ancient records. 1 

The FURNITURE of the catacombs is instructive and interest- 
ing, but most of it has been removed to churches and museums, 
and must be studied outside. Articles of ornament, rings, seals, 
bracelets, neck-laces, mirrors, tooth-picks, ear-picks, buckles, 
brooches, rare coins, innumerable lamps of clay (terra-cotta), or 
of bronze, even of silver and amber, all sorts of tools, and in 
the case of children a variety of playthings were inclosed with 
the dead. Many of these articles are carved with the monogram 
of Christ, or other Christian symbols. (The lamps in Jewish 
cemeteries bear generally a picture of the golden candlestick). 

A great number of flasks and cups also, with or without or- 
namentation, are found, mostly outside of the graves, and 
fastened to the grave-lids. These were formerly supposed to 
have been receptacles, for tears, or, from the red, dried sediment 
in them, for the blood of martyrs. But later archaeologists 
consider them drinking vessels used in the agapse and oblations. 
A superstitious habit prevailed in the fourth century, although 
condemned ty a council of Carthage (397), to give to the dead 
the eucharistic wine, or to put a cup with the consecrated wine 
in the grave. 2 

The instruments of torture which the fertile imagination of 

1 See also the list in N. and Br. L pp. xx-xxi, and in Smith and Cheetham, 
I. 315. 

3 The curious controversy about these blood-stained phials is not yet closed. 
Chemical experiments have led to no decided results. The Congregation of 
Kites and Belies decided, in 1668, that the phiolos cruenta or ampuUce sanguino- 
tenfa were blood-vessels of martyrs, and Pius IX. confirmed the decision in 
1863. It was opposed by distinguished Eoman scholars (Mabillon, Tillemont, 
Muratori, the Jesuit Pe"re de Buck (De phicdis rubricatis, Brussels, 1855), but 
defended again, though cautiously and to a very limited extent by De Eossi 
(III. 602), Northcote and Brownlow fIL 330-343), and "fry F. X. Kraus (Dw 
Blutamputt&n der rom. Katakomben, 1868, and Ueber den gegenw. Stand der 
Frage nach dem Inhalt und der Bedeutung der rom. Blutamputten, 1872). Com p. 
also Schultze : Die sogen Blutglaser d&r Horn. Kat. (1880), and Die Kataknmben 
\1882, pp. 226-232). Roller thinks that the phials contained probably per 
fbmery, or perhaps eucharistic wine. 

298 SECOND PEEIOD. A. TX 100-311. 

credulous people had discovered, and which were made to prove 
that almost every Christian buried in the catacombs was a 
martyr, are simply implements of handicraft. The instinct of 
nature prompts the bereaved to deposit in the graves of their 
kindred and friends those things which were constantly used by 
them. The idea prevailed also to a large extent that the future 
life was a continuation of the occupations and amusements of 
the present, but free from' sin and imperfection. 

On opening the graves the skeleton appears frequently even 
now very well preserved, sometimes in dazzling whiteness, as 
covered with a glistening glory; but falls into dust at the 

85. Pictures and Sculptures. 

The most important remains of the catacombs are the pictures, 
sculptures, and epitaphs. 

I. Pictures. These have already been described in the pre- 
ceding chapter. They are painted al fresco on the wall and 
ceiling, and represent Christian symbols, scenes of Bible history, 
and allegorical conceptions of the Saviour* A few are in pure 
classic style, and betray an early origin when Greek art still 
flourished in Rome; but most of them belong to the period of 
decay. Prominence is given to pictures of the Good Shepherd, 
and those biblical stories which exhibit the conquest of faith 
and the hope of the resurrection. The mixed character of some 
of the Christian frescos may be explained partly from the em- 
ployment of heathen artists by Christian patrons, partly from 
oil? reminiscences. The Etrurians and Greeks were in the habit 
of renting their tombs, and Christian Greeks early saw the 
value of pictorial language as a means of instruction. In 
technical skill the Christian art is inferior to the heathen, but 
rbs subjects are higher, and its meaning is deeper. 

IL The works of sculpture are mostly found on sarcophagi 
Many of them are collected in the Lateran Museum. Few of 
them date from the ante-Nicene age. 1 They represent in relief 

1 Eenan dates the oldest sculptures from the end of the third century : "Leu 

2 86. EPITAPHS. 299 

the same subjects as the wall-pictures, as far as they could be 
worked in stone or marble, especially the resurrection of 
Lazarus, Dauiel among the lious, Moses smiting the rock, the 
sacrifice of Isaac. 

Among the oldest Christian sarcophagi are those of St. 
Helena, the mother of Constantine (d. 328), and of Constantia, 
his daughter- (d. 354), both of red porphyry, and preserved in 
the Vatican Museum. The sculpture on the former probably 
represents the triumphal entry of Constantine into Borne aftei 
his victory over Maxentius ; the sculpture on the latter, the cul- 
tivation of the vine, probably with a symbolical meaning. 1 

The richest and finest of all the Christian sarcophagi is thai 
of Junius Bassus, Prefect of Koine, A. D. 359, and five times 
Consul, in the crypt of St. Peter's in the Vatican. 3 It was 
found in the Vatican cemetery (1595). It is made of Parian 
marble in Corinthian style. The subjects represented in the 
upper part are the sacrifice of Abraham, the capture of St. 
Peter, Christ seated between Peter and Paul, the capture of 
Christ, and Pilate washing his hands ; in the lower part are the 
temptation of Ada*m and Eve, suffering Job, Christ's entrance 
into Jerusalem, Daniel among the lions, and the capture of St 

86. 'Epitaphs. 

"Budely written, but each letter 
Full of hope, and yet of heart-break, 
Pull of all the tender pathos of the Here 
and the Hereafter." 

To perpetuate, by means of sepulchral inscriptions, the 

sarcophages swlptfo, repr&entant des scenes sacrSes, apparaissent vers la fn du III* 
si&jfe. Comme les p&intures chr&tiennes, its ne s'frartent guere, tauf pour le sujet, 
des habitudes de rart paien du m&me temps." (Marc Aurfte, p. 546). Comp 
also Schultze, Die KataL 165-186, and especially the IX& part of John Henrj 
Parker's great work, which treats on the Tombs in and near Rom*, 1877. 

1 See photographs of both in Parker, Part IX, Nos. 209 and 210, and pp. 
41 and 42. 

2 See a photograph in Parker, I c. t Plate XIH; also in Lundy, Monum 
Christianity, p. 112. 

300 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

memory of relatives and friends, and to record the sentiments 
of love and esteem, of grief and hope, in the face of death and 
eternity, is a custom common to all civilized ages and nations. 
These epitaphs are limited by space, and often provoke rather 
than satisfy curiosity, but contain nevertheless in poetry or 
prose a vast amount of biographical and historical information. 
Many a grave-yard is a broken record of the church to which 
it belongs. 

The Catacombs abound in such monumental inscriptions, 
>ftreek and Latin, or strangely mixed (Latin words in Greek 
characters), often rudely written, badly spelt, mutilated, and 
almost illegible, with and without symbolical figures. The 
classical languages were then in a process of decay, like classical 
eloquence atid art, and the great majority of Christians were 
poor .and illiterate people. One name only is given in the 
earlier epitaphs, sometimes the age, and the day of burial, but 
not the date of birth . 

More than fifteen thousand epitaphs have been collected/ 
classified, and explained 6y De Eossi from the first six centuries 
in Borne alone, and theu number is constantly increasing. 
Benedict XIV. founded, in J750, a Christian Museum, and 
devoted a hall in the Vatican to the collection of ancient 
sarcophagi. Gregory XVL and Pius IX. patronized it. In 
this Lapidarian Gallery the costly pagan and the simple Chris- 
tian inscriptions and sarcophagi confront each other on opposite 
walls, and present a striking contrast. Another important col- 
lection is in the Kircherian Museum, ui the Eoman College, 
another in the Christian Museum of the University of Berlin. 1 
The entire field of ancient epigraphy, heathen and Christian in 
Italy and other countries, has been made accessible by the in- 
dustry and learning of Gruter, Muratori, Marchi, De Eossi, Le 

1 Under the care of Professor Piper (a pupil of Neander), who even before 
De Rossi introduced a scientific knowledge of the sepulchral moaumptitH and 
inscriptions. Comp. his "Monumental Theology," and his essay " Uebttr d 
kirchenhistorischen Gewinn CMW Inschrijten, in the " Jahrbiicher f. D, Theologie," 

286. EPITAPHS. 301 

Blant, Boeckh, Kirchhoff, Orelli, Mommsen, Henzen, Hiibner, 
Waddiugton, McCaul. 

The most difficult part of this branch of archseology is the 
chronology (the oldest inscriptions being mostly undated). 1 
Their chief interest for the church historian is their religion, as 
far as it may be inferred from a few words. 

The key-note of the Christian epitaphs, as compared with, 
the heathen, is struck by Paul in his words of comfort to the 
Thessalonians, that they should not sorrow like the heathen 
who luivo no hope, but remember that, as Jesus rose from the 
dead, so God will raLso them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus. 

Hence, while the heathen epitaphs rarely express a belief in 
immortality, but often describe death as an eternal sleep, the 
grave as a final home, and are pervaded by a tone of sadness, 
the Christian epitaphs are hopeful and cheerful. The farewell 
on earth is followed by a welcome from heaven. Death is but 
a short sleep ; the soul is with Christ and lives in God, the body 
waits for a joyful resurrection : this is the sum and substance of 
the theology of Christian epitaphs. The symbol of Christ 
(Ichthys) is often placed at the beginning or end to show the 
ground of this hope. Again and again we find the brief, but 
significant words : " in peace ; " 2 " he " or " she sleeps in 
peace;" 3 "live in God," or "in Christ;" "live forever." * 
" He rests well." " God quicken thy spirit." " Weep not, my 
child; death is not eternal." "Alexander is not dead, but livea 
above the stars, and his body rests in this tomb." 5 "Here 

* De Rossi traces some up to the first century, but Renan (Marc-Aurele, p. 
536) maintains : *' Les inscriptions chrStiennes des catacombes ne remontent grf au 
commencement du III 6 sfede" 

2 In pace: ev eipforf. Frequent also in the Jewish cemeteries (shalom). 

3 Dormit in pace; requiescit in pace; in pace Domini; KoifiaraL h elpfog. 
The pagan formula "depositus" also occurs, but with an altered meaning : a 
precious treasure intrusted to faithful keeping for a short time. 

4 Vivas, or vive in Deo ; vivas in cetemum ; vivas inter sanctos. Contrast with 
these the pagan acclamations: Sit tibi terra l&vis; Ossa tua lent quiescant, 
Ave; Vale. 

6 This inscription in the cemetery of Callistus dates from the time of persecu* 
fe'on, probably in the third century, and alludes to it in these words: " For while 

302 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Gordian, the courier from Gaul, strangled for the faith, with 
his whole family, rests in peace. The maid servant, Theophila, 
erected this." l 

At the same time stereotyped heathen epitaphs continued to 
be used (but of course not in a polytheistic sense), as " sacred to 
the funeral gods," or te to the departed spirits." 2 The laudatory 
epithets of heathen epitaphs are rare, 3 but simple terms of 
natural affection very frequent, as " My sweetest child j " " In- 
nocent little lamb;" "My dearest husband;" "My dearest 
wife ; " " My innocent dove ; " " My well-deserving father," or 
"mother." 4 A. and B. "lived together" (for 15, 20, 30, 50, 
or even 60 years) " without any complaint or quarrel, without 
taking or giving offence." 5 Such commemoration of conjugal 
happiness and commendations of female virtues, as modesty, 
chastity, prudence, diligence, frequently occur also on pagan 
monuments, and prove that there were many exceptions to the 
corruption of Roman society, as painted by Juvenal and the 

Some epitaphs contain a request to the dead in heaven to 
pray for the living on earth. 6 At a later period we find requests 

on his knees, and about to sacrifice to the true God, he was led a\vay to execu- 
tion. sad times ! in which among sacred rites and prayers, even in caverns, 
we are not safe. What can be more wretched than such a life ? and what than 
such a death ? when they cannot be buried by their friends and relations still 
at the end they shine like stars in heaven (tandem in codo corruscant)" See 
Maitland, The Church in the Cat., second ed. p. 40. 

1 This inscription is in Latin words, but in Greek uncial letters. See Per- 
ret, JI. 152, and Aringhi, p. 387. 

2 D. M. or D. 3/. S. = Dis Manihus sacrum (others explain : Deo Magno 
or Maximo) ; memories ceternoB, etc. See Schultze, p. 250 sq. Sometimes the 
monogram of Christ is inserted before S, and then the meaning may be Deo 
Magno Christo Sacrum, or Christo Salvatori. So Northcote, p. 99, who refers to 
Tit. 2: 13. 

3 More frequent in those after the middle of the fourth century, as incom- 
parabilis, mirce sapientics or innocently rarissimi exempli, eximice bonitatis. 

* Duleis, dulcissimus, or dulcimma, carus, or cara, earissitmis, optimus, incom- 
par abUiB, famulus Dei, puella Deo pladta, aya&6^ a-yioc, tieoaepfa, cepvd^ etc. 

5 Sine idla querela, sine utta contumelia, sine Iceslone animi, sine ulla qffensa, sine 
jurgio, sine lite molesta, etc. 

6 "Pete, or roga, ora, pro nobis, pro parentibus, pro eonjuge, profiliis,pro sorore.* 
iheae petitions are comparatively rare among the thousands of undated IA- 

|86. EPITAPHS. 303 

for intercession in behalf of the departed when once, chiefly 
through the influence of Pope Gregory I. ; purgatory became an 
article of general belief in the Western church. 1 But the over- 
whelming testimony of the oldest Christian epitaphs is that the 
pious dead are already in the enjoyment of peace, and this 
accords with the Saviour's promise to the penitent thief, and 
with St. Paul's desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far 
better. 2 Take but this example : " Prima, thou livest in the 
glory of God, and in the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ." 3 


The following selection of brief epitaphs in the Eoman catacombs is 
taken from De Eossi, and Northcote, who give fac-simites of the original 
Latin and Greek. Comp. also the photographic plates in Roller, vol. I. 
Nos. x, xxxi, xxxn, and xxxm ; and vol. II. Nos. LXI, LSII, LXV, 
and LXVI. 

1. To dear Oyriacus, sweetest son. Mayest thou live in the Holy 

2. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour. To Pastor, a good and innocent 
son, who lived 4 years, 5 months and 26 days. Yitalis and Marcellina, 
his parents. 

3- In eternal sleep (somno aet&rnali}. Aurelius Gemellus, who lived 
. . . years and 8 months and 18 day*. !Ls mother made this for her 

scriptions before Constantine, and mostly confined to members of the family. 
The Autun inscription (probably from the fourth century) ends with the peti- 
tion of Pectorius to his departed parents, to think of him as often as they look 
upon Christ. See Marriott, p. 185. 

1 Dr. McCaul, of Toronto (as quoted in Smith and Cheetham, I 856) says : 
" I recollect but two examples in Christian epitaphs of the first six centuries of 
the address to the reader for his prayers, so common in medieval times.*' 

a Luke 23: 43 ; Phil. 1: 23; 2 Cor. 5: 8. 

* Prima, mvis in gloria Dei et in pace Domini nostril Scratched in the 
mortar round a grave in the cemetery of Thraso, in Borne, quoted by North- 
cote, p. 89. He also quotes Paulinus of Nola, who represents a whole host of 
saints going forth from heaven to receive the soul of St. Felix as soon as it 
had left the body, and conducting it in triumph before the throne of God. A 
distinction, however, was made by Tertullian and other fathers between Para- 
dise or Abraham's bosom, whither the pious go, and heaven proper. Comp. 
Boiler's discussion ,? the idea of refrig&nwm, whfoj often meets us in the epi- 
taphs, Les Qatacwnbes, I. 225 sqq. 

304 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

dearest well-deserving son. In peace. I commend [to thee], Bassilla, 
the innocence of Gemellus. 

4. Lady Bassilla [= Saint Bassilla], we, Crescentius and Micina, 
commend to thee our daughter Crescen [tana], who lived 10 months and 
. . . days. 

5. Matronata Matrona, who lived a year and 62 days. Pray for thy 

6. Anatolius made this for his well-deserving son, who lived 7 years, 
7 months and 20 days. May thy spirit rest well in God. Pray for thy 

7. Regina, mayest thou live in the Lord Jesus (vivas in Domino 

8. To my good and sweetest husband Castorinus, who lived 61 years, 
5 months and 10 days; well-deserving. His wife made this. Live in 

9. Amerimnus to his dearest, well-deserving wife, Rufina. May God 
refresh thy spirit. 

10. Sweet Faustina, mayest thou live in God. 

11. Eefresh, God, the soul of .... 

12. Bolosa, may God refresh thee, who lived 31 years; died on the 
19th of September. In Christ. 

13. Peace to thy soul, Oxyeholis. 

14. Agape, thou shalt live forever. 

15. In Christ. To Paulinus, a neophyte. In peace. Who lived 8 

16. Thy spirit in peace, Filmeni 

17. In Christ. ^Estonia, a virgin; a foreigner, who lived 41 years 
and 8 days. She departed from the body on the 26th of February. 

18. Victorina in peace and in Christ. 

19. Dafhen, a widow, who whilst she lived burdened the church in 

20. To Leopardus, a neophyte, who lived 3 years, 11 months. Buried 
on the 24th of March. In peace. 

21. To Felix, their well-deserving son, who lived 23 years and 10 
days ; who went out of the world a virgin and a neophyte. In peace. 
His parents made this. Buried on the 2<* of August. 

22. Lucilianus to Bacius Valerius, who lived 9 years, 8 [months], 22 
days. A catechumen. 

23. Septimius Praetextatus Csecilianus, servant of God, who has led 
a worthy life. If I ha^ served Thee [0 Lord], I have not repented, 
and I will give thanks to Thy name. He gave up his soul to God (at 
the age of) thirty-three years and six months. [Jfe the crypt of S,t 

{ 86. EPITAPHS. 305 

Cecilia in St. Oallisto. Probably a member of some noble femily, the 
third name is mutilated. De Eossi assigns this epitaph to the beginning 
of the third century.] 

24. Cornelius. Martyr. Ep. [iscopus]. 

This Greek inscription was discovered A. D. 1839 in the cemetery Saint 
Pierre TEstrier near Autun (Augustodunum, the ancient capital of 
Gallia jEduensis), first made known by Cardinal Pitra, and thoroughly 
discussed by learned archaeologists of different countries. See the 
ftpitilegium Mesmerise (ed. by Pitra), vols. I.-IIL, Ra Garrucci, Monu- 
ments d' epigraphie andenne, Paris 1856, 1857 ; F. Lenormant, Memoire 
sur V inscription d 9 Autun, Paris 1855 ; H. B. Marriott, The Testimony 
of the Catacombs, Lond. 1870, pp. 113-188. The Jesuit fathers Secchi 
and Garrucci find in it conclusive evidence of transubstantiation and 
purgatory, but Marriott takes pains to refute them. Comp. also 
Schultze, Katak. p. 118. The Ichthys-symbol figures prominently in 
the inscription, and betrays an early origin, but archaeologists differ : 
Pitra, Garrucci and others assign it to A. D. 160-202 ; Kirchhoff, Marriott, 
and Schultze, with greater probability, to the end of the fourth or the 
beginning of the fifth century, Lenormant and Le Blant to the fifth .or 
sixth. De Eossi observes that the characters are not so old as the ideas 
which they express. The inscription has some gaps which must be 
filled out by conjecture. It is a memorial of Pectorius to his parents and 
friends, in two parts ; the first six lines are an acrostic, (Ichthys), and eon- 
tain words of the dead (probably the mother) ; in the second part the son 
speaks. The first seems to be older. Schultze conjectures that it is an 
old Christian hymn. The inscription begins with 'I^rJwof o [vpaviov ay] 
iov [or perhaps $elov] yhos, and concludes with fwfoso Ue/cropiou, who pre- 
pared the monument for his parents. The following is the translation 
(partly conjectural) of- Marriott (L c. 118) : 

* Offspring of the heavenly ICHTHYS, see that a heart of holy rever- 
ence be thine, now that from Divine waters thou hast received, while 
yet among mortals, a fount of life that is to immortality. Quicken thy 
soul, beloved one, with ever-flowing waters of wealth-giving wisdom, 
and receive the honey-sweet food of the Saviour of the saints. Eat with 
" a longmg hunger, holding Ichthys in thine hands/ 

' To Ichthys .... Come nigh unto me, my Lord [and] Saviour [be 
thou my Guide] I entreat Thee, Thou Light of them for whom the hour 
of death is past/ 

'Aschandius, mv Father, dear unto mine heart, and thou [sweet 
Mother, and fill ! thnf, are mine .... remember Pectorius/ 
Vol. II. 

306 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

87. Lessons of the Catacombs. 

The catacombs represent the subterranean Christianity of the 
srnte-Nicene age. They reveal the Christian life in the face of 
death and eternity. Their vast extent, their solemn darkness, 
their labyrinthine mystery, their rude epitaphs, pictures, and 
sculptures, their relics of handicraft, worship, and martyrdom 
give us a lively and impressive idea of the social and domestic 
condition, the poverty and humility, the devotional spirit, the 
trials and sufferings, the faith and hope of the Christians from 
the death of the apostles to the conversion of Constantine. A 
modern visitor descending alive into this region of the dead, 
receives the same impression as St. Jerome more than fifteen 
centuries ago : he is overcome by the solemn darkness, the ter- 
rible silence, and the sacred associations; only the darkness is 
deeper, and the tombs are emptied of their treasures. "He 
who is thoroughly steeped in the imagery of the catacombs," 
says Dean Stanley, not without rhetorical exaggeration, " will 
be nearer to the thoughts of the early church than he who has 
learned by heart the most elaborate treatise even of Tertullian 
or of Origen." l 

The discovery of this subterranean necropolis has been made 
unduly subservient to polemical and apologetic purposes both 
by Roman Catholic and Protestant writers. The former seek 
and find in it monumental arguments for the worship of saints, 
images, and relics, for the cultus of the Yirgin Mary, the 
primacy of Peter, the seven sacraments, the real presence, even 
for transubstantiation, and purgatory; while the latter see 
there the evidence of apostolic simplicity of life and worship, 
and an illustration of Paul's saying that God chose the foolish, 
the weak, and the despised things of the world to put to shame 
fchem that are wise and strong and mighiy. 1 

* Study of Ecclesiastical History, prefixed to his Lectures on the History of the 
Eastern Qhwrch, p. 59. 

1 The apologetic interest for Romanism is represented by Marchi, De Rossi, 
jrarrucci, Le Blant, D. de Richemond, Armellini, Bartoli, Maurus. Wolter 
[Die rom. Katakomben und die Sdkramente der kath. Kirche, 1866), Martigny 


A full solution of the controversial questions would depend 
upon the chronology of the monuments and inscriptions, but 
this is exceedingly uncertain. The most eminent archaeologists 
hold widely differing opinions. John Baptist de Kossi, of 
Rome, the greatest authority on the Roman Catholic side, 
traces some paintings and epitaphs in the crypts of St. Lucina 
and St. Domitilla back even to the close of the first century or 
the beginning of the second. On the other hand, J. H. Parker, 
of Oxford, an equally eminent archaeologist, maintains that 
" fully three-fourths of the fresco-paintings belong to the latest 
restorations of the eighth and ninth centuries," and that " of 
the remaining fourth a considerable number are of the sixth 
century." He also' asserts that in the catacomb pictures "there 
are no religious subjects before the time of Constantine," that 
" during the fourth and fifth centuries they are entirely confined 
to Scriptural subjects," and that there is " not a figure of a saint 
or martyr before the sixth century, and very few before the 
eighth, when they became abundant." l Renan ' assigns the 
earliest pictures of the catacombs to the fourth century, very few 
(in Domitilla) to the third. 2 Theodore Mommsen deems De 
Rossi's argument for the early date of the Coemeterium Domilifla 
before A. D. 95 inconclusive, and traces it rather to the times of 
Hadrian and Pius than to those of the Flavian emperors. 3 

(Dictionaire, etc,, 1877), A. Kuhn (1877), Northcote and Brownlow (1879), 
F. X: Kraus (Real-^ncykl der christl. AUerthumer, 1880 sqq.), Diepolder 
(1882), and among periodicals, by De Bossi's Bulletino, the Ovmltb Cattolica, 
the R&uue de Fart chr&tieri, and the Ifavue ar<Mologiqw> Among the Protestant 
writers on the catacombs are Piper, Parker, Maitland, Lundy, Withrow, 
Becker, Stanley, Schultze, Heinrici, and Boiler. See among others : Heinrici, 
Jgfor Deutung der Bildw&rke aMirixtlwher Qrabstatten, in the "Sludien und 
Kritiken" for 1882, p. 720-743, and especially Piper, Monumentale Theokgie- 

1 Catacombs, Pref. p. xi. The writer of the article Catacombs in the " Encycl. 
Brit." v. 214 (ninth ed.) is of the same opinion : " It is tolerably certain that 
the existing frescos are restorations of the eighth, or even a later century, from 
which the character of the earlier work can only very imperfectly he dis- 
covered.'' He then refers to Parker's invaluable photographs taken in the 
catacombs by magnesian light, and condemns, with Milman, the finished 
drawings in Perretf s costly work as worthless to the historian, who wants truth 
and fidelity. 

a Marc-Aur&e, p. 543. 8 " Contemp. Bev." for May, 187 J, p. 170. 

306 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

87. Lessons of the Catacombs. 

The catacombs represent the subterranean Christianity of the 
ante-Nicene age. They reveal the Christian life in the face of 
death and eternity. Their vast extent, their solemn darkness, 
their labyrinthine mystery, their rude epitaphs, pictures, and 
sculptures, their relics of handicraft, worship, and martyrdom 
give us a lively and impressive idea of the social and domestic 
condition, the poverty and humility, the devotional spirit, the 
trials and sufferings, the faith and hope of the Christians from 
the death of the apostles to the conversion of Constantine. A 
modern visitor descending alive into this region of the dead, 
receives the same impression as St. Jerome more than fifteen 
centuries ago : he is overcome by the solemn darkness, the ter- 
rible silence, and the sacred associations ; only the darkness is 
deeper, and the tombs are emptied of their treasures. "He 
who is thoroughly steeped in the imagery of the catacombs/' 
says Dean Stanley, not without rhetorical exaggeration, " will 
be nearer to the thoughts of the early church than he who has 
learned by heart the most elaborate treatise even of Tertullian 
or of Origen." x 

The discovery of this subterranean necropolis has been made 
unduly subservient to polemical and apologetic purposes both 
by Eoman Catholic and Protestant writers. The former seek 
and find in it monumental arguments for the worship of saints, 
images, and relics, for the cultus of the Virgin Mary, the 
primacy of Peter, the seven sacraments, the real presence, even 
for transubstantiation, and purgatory; while the latter see 
there the evidence of apostolic simplicity of life and worship, 
and an illustration of Paul's saying that God chose the foolish, 
the weak, and the despised things of the world to put to shame 
them that are wise and strong and mighty. 1 

i Study of Ecclesiastical History, prefixed to his Lectures on the History of the 
Eastern Church, p. 59. 

1 The apologetic interest for Eomanism is represented by Marchi, De Rossi, 
Garrucci, Le Blant, D. de Kichemond, Armellini, Bartoli, Maurus, Wolter 
(Die rom. Katakomben und die Sakramente der kath. Kirche, 1866), Martigny 


A full solution of the controversial questions would depend 
upon the chronology of the monuments and inscriptions, but 
this is exceedingly uncertain. The most eminent archaeologists 
hold widely differing opinions. John Baptist de Eossi, of 
Borne, the greatest authority on the Eoman Catholic side, 
traces some paintings and epitaphs in the crypts of St. Lucina 
and St. Domitilla back even to the close of the first century or 
the beginning of the second. On the other hand, J. H. Parker, 
of Oxford, an equally eminent archaeologist, maintains that 
" fully three-fourths of the fresco-paintings belong to the latest * 
restorations of the eighth and ninth centuries," and that " of 
the remaining fourth a considerable number are of the sixth 
century." He also 'asserts that in the catacomb pictures "there 
are no religious subjects before the time of Constantine/' that 
" during the fourth and fifth centuries they are entirely confined 
to Scriptural subjects," and that there is " not a figure of a saint 
or martyr before the sixth century, and very few before the 
eighth, when they became abundant." l Eenan assigns the 
earliest pictures of the catacombs to the fourth century, very few 
(in Domitilla) to the third. 2 Theodore Mommsen deems De 
Rossi's argument for the early date of the Coemeterium DomitiUce 
before A. D. 95 inconclusive, and traces it rather to the times of 
Hadrian and Pius than to those of the Flavian emperors. 3 

(Dictionaire, etc,, 1877), A. Kuhn (1877), Northcote and Brownlow (1879), 
F. X: Kraus (Bed=EncyU. der chri&U. Atierthumer, 1880 sqq.); Diepolder 
(1882), and among periodicals, by De Bossi's Euttetino, the Oimltd, Cattdica, 
the fiffuue de fart chr$tien, and the Revue arcMohgique. Among the Protestant 
writers on the catacombs are Piper, Parker, Maitland, Lundy, Withrow, 
Becker, Stanley, Schultze, Heinrici, and Boiler. See among others : Eeinrici, 
Zur Deutung far Bildwerke dtchristlicher Grabstatien,, in the " Studien und 
Kritiken" for 1882, p. 720-743, and especially Piper, Monwrnentale Theologie. 

1 Catacombs, Pref. p. xi. The writer of the article Catacombs in the " Encycl. 
Brit" v. 214 (ninth ed.) is of the same opinion : "It is tolerably certain that 
the existing frescos are restorations of the eighth, or even a later century, from 
which the character of the earlier work can only very imperfectly be dis- 
covered." He then refers to Parker's invaluable photographs taken in the 
catacombs by magnesian light, and condemns, with Milman, the finished 
drawings in Ferret's costly work as worthless to the historian, who wants truth 
and fidelity. 

2 Warc-Aurtte, p. 543. 8 " Contemp. Eev. J) for May, 187J, p. 170. 

o08 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

But in any case it is unreasonable to seek in the catacombs 
for a complete creed any more than in a modern grave-yard. 
All we can expect there is the popular elements of eschatology, 
or the sentiments concerning death and eternity, with incidental 
traces of the private and social life of those times. Heathen, 
Jewish, Mohammedan, and Christian cemeteries have their 
characteristic peculiarities, yet all have many things in common 
which are inseparable from human nature. Eoman Catholic 
cemeteries are easily recognized by crosses, crucifixes, and refer- 
ence to purgatory and prayers for the dead ; Protestant ceme- 
teries by the frequency of Scripture passages in the epitaphs, 
and the expressions of hope and joy in prospect of the imme- 
diate transition of the pious dead to the presence of Christ. 
The catacombs have a character of their own, >which dis- 
tinguishes them from Roman Catholic as well as Protestant 

Their most characteristic symbols and pictures are the Good 
Shepherd, the Fish, and the Vine. These symbols almost 
wholly disappeared after the fourth century, but to the mind of 
the early Christians they vividly expressed, in childlike sim- 
plicity, what is essential to Christians of all creeds, the idea of 
Christ and his salvation, as the only comfort in life and in 
death. The Shepherd, whether from the Sabine or the Galilean 
hills, suggested the recovery of the lost sheep, the tender care 
and protection, the green pasture and fresh fountain, the sacrifice 
of life : in a word, the whole picture of a Saviour. 1 The popu- 

1 Stanley, I c., p. 283: "What was the popular Religion of the first Chris- 
tians? It was, in one word, the Religion of the Good Shepherd. The kind- 
ness, the courage, the grace, the love, the beauty of the Good Shepherd was to 
them, if we may so say, Prayer Book and Articles, Creeds and Canons, all in 
one. They looked on that figure, and it conveyed to them all that they 
wanted. As ages passed on, the Good Shepherd faded away from the mind 
of the Christian world, and other emblems of the Christian faith have taken 
his place. Instead of the gracious and gentle Pastor, there came the Omni- 
potent Judge or the Crucified Sufferer, or the Infant in His Mother's arms, or 
the Master in His Parting Supper, or the figures of innumerable saints and 
<aigel8, or the elaborate expositions of the various forms of theological con- 


rarity of this picture enables us to understand the immense 
popularity of the Pastor of Hennas, a religious allegory which 
was written in Eome about the middle of the second century, 
and read in many churches till the fourth as a part of the New 
Testament (as in the Sinaitic Codex). The Fish expressed the 
same idea of salvation, under a different form, but only to those 
who were familiar with the Greek (the anagrammatic meaning 
of Ichthys) and associated the fish< with daily food and the bap- 
tismal water of regeneration. The Vine again sets forth the 
vital union of the believer with Christ and the vital communion 
of all believers among themselves. 

Another prominent feature of the catacombs is their hopeful 
and joyful eschatology. They proclaim in symbols and words 
a certain conviction of the immortality of the soul and the 
resurrection of the body, rooted and grounded in a living union 
with Christ in this world. 1 These glorious hopes comforted 
and strengthened the early Christians in a time of poverty, trial, 
and persecution. This character stands in striking contrast with 
the preceding .and contemporary gloom of paganism, for which 
the future world was a blank, and with the succeeding gloom 
of the mediaeval eschatology which presented the future world 
to the most serious Christians as a continuation of penal suffer- 
ings. This is the chief, we may say, the only doctrinal, lesson 
of the catacombs. 

On some other points they incidentally shed new light, espe- 
jially on the spread of Christianity and the origin of Christian 
art. Their immense extent implies that Christianity was 

1 See the concluding chapter in the work of Koller, II. 347 sqq. Baoul- 
Bochette characterizes the art of the Catacombs as "un sysi&me cPfllvsions con- 
solantes." Schultze sees in the sepulchral symbols chiefly Avferstehungs- 
gedanken and Auferstehungshofnungen. Heinrici dissents from him by extend- 
ing the symbolism to the present life as a life of hope in Christ. lc Nicht der 
Gedanlse an die Auferste&ung des Fleischesf&r sich, sondem die christiicheHoffnung 
uberhaupt, wie sie aiw der sicheren Lebensgemeinschaft mit Christus erblilht und 
Leben wie Sterben des Qldubigen beherrscht, bedingt die WaM der religios bedeutsa- 
men Eild&r. Sie md nicht Symbole der einstigen Auferstehung, sondern des 
mverlierbaren Hefisbesitsses in Christus." ("Studien und Krit." 1842, p. 729). 

310 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

numerically much stronger in heathen Rome than was generally 
supposed. 1 Their numerous decorations prove conclusively, 
either that the primitive Christian aversion to pictures and 
sculptures, inherited from the Jews, was not so general nor so 
long continued as might be inferred from some passages of 
ante-Nicene writers, or, what is more likely, that the popular 
love for art inherited from the Greeks and Romans was little 
affected by the theologians, and ultimately prevailed over the 
scruples of theorizers. 

The first discovery of the catacombs was a surprise to the 
Christian world, and- gave birth to wild fancies about the incal- 
culable number of martyrs, the terrors of persecution, the sub- 
terranean assemblies of the early Christians, as if they lived 
and died, by necessity or preference, in darkness beneath the 
earth. A closer investigation has dispelled the romance, and 
deepened the reality. 

There is no contradiction between the religion of the ante- 
Nicene monuments and the religion of the ante-Nicene litera- 
ture. They supplement and illustrate each other. Both exhibit 
to us neither the mediaeval Catholic nor the modern Protestant, 
but the post-apostolic Christianity of confessors and martyrs, 
simple, humble, unpretending, unlearned, unworldly, strong in 
death and in the hope of a blissful resurrection ; free from the 
distinctive dogmas and usages of later times; yet with that 
strong love for symbolism, mysticism, asceticism, and popular 
superstitions which we find in the writings of Justin Martyr, 
Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen. 

1 Theodore Mommsen (in "The Contemp. Rev." for May, 1871, p. 167): 
" The enormous space occupied by the burial vaults of Christian Rome, in 
their extent not surpassed even by the system of cloacse or sewers of Republi- 
can Borne, is certainly the work of that community which St. Paul addressed 
in his EpistJe to the Romans a living witness of its immense development^ 
corresponding to the importance of the capital." 



88. Literatwe. 

I. SouECES: The works of the APOSTOLIC FATHEES. The Apologies 

of JUSTIN. The practical treatises of TERTULLIAN. The Epistles 
of CYPRIAN. The Canons of Councils. The APOSTOLICAL CONSTI- 
TUTIONS and CANONS. The Acts of Martyrs. On the condition 
of the Roman Empire: the Histories of TACITUS, SUETONIUS, and 

II. LITEEATURE : W. CAVE; Primitive Christianity, or the Religion of 
the Ancient Christians in the first ages of the Gospel. London, fifth 
ed. 1689. 

G. AENOLD: Erste Liebe, d. i. Wahre Abbildung der ersten Christen 

nach ihrem lebendigen Glauben und heil. Leben. Frankf. 1696, and 

often since. 
NEANDEE : Denkwurdigkeiten aus der Geschichte des christlichen Lebens 

(first 1823), vol. i. third ed. Hamb. 1845. The same in English 

by Eyland: Neander's Memorials of Christian Life, in Bohn's 

Library, 1853. 
L. COLEMAN : Ancient Christianity exemplified in the private, domestic, 

social, and civil Life of the Primitive Christians, etc. Phil. 1853. 
C. SCHMIDT : Essai historique sur la society dans le monde Romain, et sur 

la transformation par le Christianisme. Par. 1853. The same transl. 

into German by A. V. Richard. Leipz. 1857. 
' E. L. CHASTEL : &udes historigues sur I'influence de la charite durant 

les premiers siecles chret. Par. 1853. Crowned by the French 

Academic. The same transl. into English (The Charity of the 

Primitive Churches], by G. A. Matile. Phila. 1857. 
A. Fr. VILLEMAIN : Nouveaux essais sur Vinfl. du Christianisme dans le 

monde Grec et Latin. Par. 1853. 
BENJ. CONSTANT MAETHA (Member of the Acad&mie des sciences morales 

et politiques, elected in 1872): Les Mbralistes sous V Empire romain. 

Paris 1854, second ed. 1866 (Crowned by the French Academy). 
FR. J. M. TH. CHAMPAGNY : Les premiers siecles de la charite. Paris, 

1854. Also his work Les Antonins. Paris, 1863, third ed, 1874, 

3 vols. 

312 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 


J. DENIS: Histoire des theories et des idtes murales dans Vantiquitb. 

Paris, 1856, 2 torn. 
P. JANET : Histoire de la philosophie morale et politique. Paris, 1858, 

2 torn. 

G. RATZINGER : Gesch. der Urchlichen Armenpflege. Freib. 1859. 
W. E. H. LECKY : History of European Morals from Augustus to Charle* 

magne. Lond. and N. Y. 1869, 2 vols., 5th ed. Lond. 1882. Ger- 
man transl. by Dr. H. Jalowicz. 
MARiE-Louis-GASTON BoissiER: La Religion romaine d'Auguste aux 

Antonins. Paris, 1874, 2 vols. 

BESTMASTK: Geschiehte der christlichen Sitte. Nordl. Bd. I. 1880. 
W. GASS : Gesehichte der christlichen Ethik. Berlin, 1881 (vol. I. 49-107). 
G. UHLHORN": Die christliche Liebesthatigkeit in der alten Kirche. Stuttg, 

1881. English translation (Christian Charity in the Antieivt Church). 

Edinb. and N. York, 1883 (424 pages). 
CHARLES L. BRACE : Gesta Christi : or a History of humane Progress 

under Christianity. N. York, 1883 (500 pages). 

89. Moral Corruption of the Roman Empire. 

Besides the Lit. quoted in J 88, comp. tfoe historical works on the Boman 
Empire by GIBBON, MERIVALE, and BAFKE; also J. J. A. 
AMPERE'S Histoire Romaine 4 Rome (1856-64, 4 vols.). 

FRIEDLAENDER'S Sittengeschichte Roms (from Augustus to the An- 
tonines. Leipzig, 3 vols., 5th ed. 1881); and MARQUARDT and 
MOMMSEN'S Handbuch der romischen Alterthumer (Leipz. 1871, sec- 
ond ed. 1876, 7 vols., divided into Staatsrecht, Staatsverwaltung, 

CHRISTIANITY is not only the revelation of truth, but also 
the fountain of holiness under the unceasing inspiration of the 
spotless example of its Founder, which is more powerful than 
all the systems of moral philosophy. It attests its divine origin 
as much by its moral workings as by its pure doctrines. By its 
own inherent energy, without noise and commotion, without the 
favor of circumstances, nay, in spite of all possible obstacles, it 
has gradually wrought the greatest moral reformation, we should 
rather say, regeneration of society which history has ever seen ; 
while its purifying, ennobling, and cheering effects upon the 
private life of countless individuals are beyond the reach of the 
historian, though recorded in God's book of life to be opened on 
the day of judgment. 


To appreciate this work, we must first review the moral con- 
dition of heathenism in its mightiest embodiment in history. 

When Christianity took firm foothold on earth, the pagan 
civilization and'the Roman empire had reached their zenith. The 
reign of Augustus was the golden age of Eoman literature ; his 
successors added Britain and Dacia to the conquests of the Re- 
public; internal organization was perfected by Trajan and the 
Antonines. The fairest countries of Europe, and a considerable 
part of Asia and Africa stood under one imperial government 
with republican forms, and enjoyed a well-ordered jurisdiction. 
Piracy on the seas was abolished ; life and property were secure. 
Military roads, canals, and the Mediterranean Sea facilitated 
commerce and travel; agriculture was improved, and all 
branches of industry flourished. Temples, theatres, aqueducts, 
public baths, and magnificent buildings of every kind adorned 
the great cities; institutions of learning disseminated culture; 
two languages with a classic literature were current in the 
empire, the Greek in the East, the Latin in the West ; the book 
trade, with the manufacture of paper, was a craft of no small 
importance, and a library belonged to every respectable house. 
The book stores and public libraries were in the most lively 
streets of Rome, and resorted to by literary people. Hundreds 
of slaves were employed as scribes, who wrote simultaneously 
at the dictation of one author or reader, and multiplied copies 
almost as fast as the modern printing press. 1 The excavations 
of Pompeii and Herculaneum reveal a high degree of con- 
venience and taste in domestic life even in provincial towns ; 

i Friedlaender, III. 369 sqq. (5th ed.), gives much interesting information 
about the book trade in Eorae, which was far more extensive than is generally 
supposed, and was facilitated by slave-labor. Books were cheap. The first 
book of Martial (over 700 verses in 118 poems) cost in the best outfit only 5 
denarii (80 cts.) Julius Ctesar conceived the plan of founding public libraries, 
but was prevented from carrying it into effect. In the fourth century there were 
no less than twenty-eight public libraries in Rome. The ease and enjoyment 
of reading, however, were considerably diminished by the many errors, the 
absence of division and punctuation. Asinius Pollio introduced the custom 
of public readings of new works before invited circles. 

314 SECOND PEBIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

and no one can look without amazement at the sublime and 
eloquent ruins of Rome, the palaces of the Caesars, the 
Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Baths of Caracalla, the Aqueducts, 
the triumphal arches and columns, above all the Colosseum, 
built by Vespasian, to a height of one hundred and fifty feet, 
and for more than eighty thousand spectators. The period of. 
eighty-four years from the accession of Nerva to the death of 
Marcus Aurelius has been pronounced by high authority " the 
most happy and prosperous period in the history of the world." 1 
But this is only a surface view. The inside did not corre- 
spond to the outside. Even under the Antonines the majority of 
men groaned under the yoke of slavery or poverty ; gladiatorial 
shows brutalized the people; fierce wars were raging on the 
borders of the empire ; and the most virtuous and peaceful of 
subjects the Christians, had no rights, and were liable at 
any moment to be thrown before wild beasts, for no other 
reason than the profession of their religion. The age of the 
full bloom of the Grseco-Roman power was also the beginning 
of its decline. This imposing show concealed incurable moral 
putridity and indescribable wretchedness. The colossal piles 
of architecture owed their erection to the bloody sweat of in- 
numerable slaves, who were treated no better than so many 
beasts of burden; on the Flavian amphitheatre alone toiled 
twelve thousand Jewish prisoners of war ; and it was built to 
gratify the cruel taste of the people for the slaughter of wild 
animals and human beings made in the image of God. The 
influx of wealth from conquered nations diffiised the most ex- 
travagant luxury, which collected for a single meal peacocks 
from Samos, pike from Pessinus, oysters from Tarentum, dates 
from Egypt, nuts from Spain, in short the rarest dishes from all 
parts of the world, and resorted to emetics to stimulate appetite 
and to lighten the stomach. " They eat," says Seneca, " and 
then they vomit; they vomit, and then they eat." Apieius, 
who lived under Tiberius, dissolved pearls in lihe wine he drank, 

1 Gibbon, Decline and Fatt, ch. HI/ Eenan expresses the same view. 


squandered an enormous fortune on the pleasures of the table, 
and then committed suicide. 1 He found imperial imijtators in 
Vitellius and Heliogabalus (or Elagabal). A special class of 
servants, the cosrnetes, had charge of the dress, the smoothing 
of the wrinkles, the setting of the false teeth, the painting of 
bhe eye-brows, of wealthy patricians. Hand in hand with this 
luxury came the vices of natural and even unnatural sensuality, 
which decency forbids to name. Hopeless poverty stood in 
crying contrast with immense wealth; exhausted provinces, 
with revelling cities. Enormous taxes burdened the people, 
and misery was terribly increased by war, pestilence, and 
famine. The higher or ruling families were enervated, and 
were not strengthened or replenished by the lower. The free 
citizens lost physical and moral vigor, and sank to an inert 
mass. The third class was the huge body of slaves, who per- 
formed all kinds of mechanical labor, even the tilling of the 
soil, and in times of danger were ready to join the enemies of 
the empire. A proper middle class of industrious citizens, the 
only firm basis of a healthy community, cannot coexist with 
slavery, which, degrades free labor. The. army, composed 

1 Either from disgust of life, or because he thought he could not live of the 
remaining ten million of sesterces, after he had wasted sixty or a hundred 
million. Seneca, Ad Helv. x. 9. Heliogabalus chose Apicius as his model. 
These, however, are exceptional cases, and became proverbial. See on 
this whole subject of Eoman luxury the third volume of Friedlaender*s 
Stitengeschichte, pp. 1-152. He rather modifies the usual view, and thinks that 
Apicius had more imitators among French epicures under Louis XIV., XV., 
and XVI. than among the Roman nobles, and that some petty German princes 
of the eighteenth century, like King August of Saxony (who wasted eighty 
thousand thalers on a single opera), and Duke Karl of Wurttemberg, almost 
equalled the heathen emperors in extravagance and riotous living, at the 
expense of their poor subjects. The wealth of the old Romans was much sur- 
passed by that of some modem Russian and English noblemen, French 
bankers, and American merchant princes, but had a much greater purchasing 
value. The richest Romans were Ca Lentulus, and Narcissus (a freedman of 
Nero), and their fortune amounted to four hundred million sesterces (from 
sixty-five to seventy million marks) ; while Mazarin left two hundred million 
francs, Baron James Rothschild (d. 1868) two thousand million francs (1. c. p. 
13 sqq.). The architecture of the imperial age surpassed all modern palaces 
in extravagance and splendor, but in parks and gardens the modern English 
far surpass the ancient Romans (p. 78 sqq.)- 

316 SEUXND PEK10.D. A. D. 100-311. 

largely of the rudest citizens and of barbarians, was the strength 
of the- nation, and gradually stamped the government with tha 
character of military despotism. The virtues of patriotism 
and of good faith in public intercourse, were extinct. The 
basest warice, suspicion and envy, usuriousness and bribery,, 
insolence and servility, everywhere prevailed- 

The work of demoralizing the people was systematically 
organized and sanctioned from the highest places downwards. 
There were, it is true, some worthy emperors of old Roman 
energy and justice, among whom Trajan, Antoninus Pius, and 
Marcus Aurelius stand foremost; all honor to their memory. 
But the best they could do was to check the process of internal 
putrefaction, and to conceal the -sores for a little while; they 
could not heal them. Most of the emperors were coarse mili- 
tary despots, and some of them monsters of wickedness. There 
is scarcely an age in the history of the world, in which so many 
and so hideous vices disgraced the throne, as in the period 
from Tiberius to Domitian, and from Commodus to Galerius. 
" The annals of the emperors," says Gibbon, " exhibit a strong 
aud various picture of human nature, which we should vainly 
seek among the mixed and doubtful characters of modern his- 
tory. In the conduct of those monarchs we may trace the 
utmost lines of vice and virtue; the most exalted perfection 
and the meanest degeneracy of our own species." l " Never, 
probably," says Canon Farrar, " was there any age or any place 
where the worst forms of wickedness were practised with a 
more unblushing effrontery than in the city of Rome under the 
government of the Csesars." 2 We may not even except the 
infamous period of the papal pornocracy, and the reign of 
Alexander Borgia, which were of short duration, and excited 
"disgust and indignation throughout the church. 

The Pagan historians of Rome have branded and immortal- 
ized the vices and crimes of the Caesars: the misanthropy, 
cruelty, and voluptuousness of Tiberius ; the ferocious madness 

1 Decline and Fall, ch. III. 2 Seek&rs after God, p. 37. 


of Cains Caligula, who had men tortured, beheaded, or sawed 
in pieces for his amusement, who seriously meditated the butch- 
ery of the whole senate, raised his horse to the digniiy of consul 
and priest, and crawled under the bed in a storm ; the bottom- 
less vileness of Nero, "the inventor of crime," who poisoned 
or murdered his preceptors Burrhus and Seneca, his half-brother 
and brother-in-law Britannicus, his mother Agrippina, his wife 
Octavia, his mistress Poppsea, who in sheer wantonness set fire 
to Konie, and then burnt innocent Christians for it as torches in 
his gardens, figuring himself as charioteer in the infernal spec- 
tacle; the swinish gluttony of Vitellius, who consumed mil- 
lions of money in mere eating; the refined wickedness of 
Domitian, who, more a cat than a tiger, amused himself most 
with the torments of the dying and with catching flies; the 
shameless revelry of Oommodus with his hundreds of concu- 
bines, and ferocious passion for butchering men and beasts on the 
arena ; the mad villainy of Heliogabalus, who raised the lowest 
men to the highest dignities, dressed himself in women's clothes, 
married a dissolute boy like himself, in short, inverted all the 
laws of nature and of decency, until at last he was butchered 
with his mother by the soldiers, and thrown into the muddy 
Tiber. And to fill the measure of impiety and wickedness, 
such imperial monsters were received, after their death, by a 
formal decree of the Senate, into the number of divinities, and 
their abandoned memory was celebrated by festivals, temples, 
and colleges of priests! The emperor, in the language of 
Gibbon, was at once "a priest, an atheist, and a god." Some 
added to it the dignity of amateur actor and gladiator on the 
stage. Domitian, even in his lifetime, caused himself to be 
called " Domino et Deus nost&r" and whole herds of animals 
to be sacrificed to his gold and silver statues. It is impossible 
to imagine a greater public and official mockery of all religion. 
The wives and mistresses of the emperors were not much 
better. They revelled in luxury and vice, swept through the 
streets in chariots drawn by silver- shod mules, wasted fortunes 
on a single dress, delighted in wicked intrigues, aided their 

318 SECOND PEKIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

husbands in dark crimes, and shared at last in their tragic fate, 
Messalina, the wife of Claudius, was murdered by the order of 
her husband in the midst of her nuptial orgies with one of he] 
favorites; and the younger Agrippina, the mother of !s"ero 
after poisoning her husband, was murdered by her own son 
who was equally cruel to his wives, kicking one of them tc 
death when she was in a state of pregnancy. These female 
monsters were likewise deified, and elevated to the rank of June 
er Venus. 

From the higher regions the corruption descended into the 
masses of the people, who by this time had no sense for any- 
thing but "Panem et Ciroenses" and, in the enjoyment of these, 
looked with morbid curiosity and interest upon the most flagrant 
vices of their masters. 

No wonder that Tacitus, who with terse eloquence and old 
Koinan severity exposes the monstrous characters of Nero and 
other emperors to eternal infamy, could nowhere, save perhaps 
among the barbarian Germans, discover a star of hope, and 
foreboded the fearful vengeance of the gods, and even the 
speedy destruction of the empire. And certainly nothing could 
save it from final doom, whose approacli was announced with 
ever-growing distinctness by wars, insurrections, inundations^ 
earthquakes, pestilence, famine, irruption of barbarians, and 
prophetic calamities of every kind. Ancient Rome, in the slow 
but certain process of dissolution and decay, teaches tie 

" . . sad moral of all human tales; 

'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past; 
first freedom, and then glory when that fails, 
Wealth, vice, corruption, barbarism at last," 

90. Stoie Morality. 

ED. ZELLEK : The Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics. Translated from tht 

German ly 0. J. Reichel London (Longman, Green & Co.), 1870. 

Chs. x-xii treat of the Stoic Ethics and Religion. 
P. W. FARKAB (Canon of Westminster) : Seekers after God. London 

(Macmillan & Co.), first ed. n. d. (1869), new ed. 1877 (Seneca, 

Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, 336 pages). 

g 90. STOIC MORA LITY. 319 

Oomp. also the essays on Seneca and Paul by FLETJRY, AUBEETIN, 
BAUR, LIGHTFOOT, and EETJSS (quoted in vol. I. 283). 

Let us now turn to the bright side of heathen morals, as 
exhibited in the teaching and example of Epictetus, Marcus 
Aurelius, and Plutarch three pure and noble characters one 
a slave, the second an emperor, the third a man of letters, twc 
of them Stoics, one a Platonist. It is refreshing to look upon 
a few green spots in the moral desert of heathen Rome. We 
may trace their virtue to the guidance of conscience (the good 
demon of Socrates), or to the independent working of the Spirit 
of God, or to the indirect influence of Christianity, which 
already began to pervade the moral atmosphere beyond the 
limits of the visible church, and to infuse into legislation a 
spirit of humanity and justice unknown before, or to all these 
causes combined. It is certain that there was in the second 
century a moral current of unconscious Christianity, which met 
the stronger religious current of the church and facilitated her 
ultimate victory. 

It is a remarkable fact that two men who represent the ex- 
tremes of society, the lowest and the highest, were the last and 
greatest teachers of natural virtue in ancient Rome. They 
shine like lone, stars in the midnight darkness of prevailing 
corruption. Epictetus the slave, and Marcus Aurelius, the 
crowned ruler of an empire, are the purest among the heathen 
moralists, and furnish the strongest * testimonies of the naturally 
Christian soul" 

Both belonged to the school of Zeno. 

The Stoic philosophy was born in Greece, but grew into man- 
hood in Rome. It was predestinated for that stern, grave, 
practical, haughty, self-governing and heroic character which 
from the banks of the Tiber ruled over the civilized world. 1 

1 Zeller, I. c. p. 37 : " Nearly all the most important Stoics before the Chris- 
tian era belong by birth to Asia Minor, to Syria, and to the islands of the 
Eastern Archipelago. Then follow a line of Roman Stoics, among whom the 
Phrygian Epictetus occupies a prominent place; but Greece proper is ex- 
clusively represented by men of third or fourth-rate capacity.'' 

320 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

In the Republican period Cato of Utica lived and died by his own 
hand a genuine Stoic in practice, without being one in theory. 
Seneca, the contemporary of St. Paul, was a Stoic in theory, but 
belied his almost Christian wisdom in practice, by his insatiable 
avarice, anticipating Francis Bacon as " the wisest, brightest, 
meanest of mankind." l Half of his ethics is mere rhetoric. 
In Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius the Stoic theory and practice 
' met in beautiful harmony, and freed from its most objectionable 
features. They were the last and the best of that' school which 
taught men to live and to die, and offered an asylum for indi- 
vidual virtue and freedom when the Roman world at large was 
rotten to the core. 

Stoicism is of all ancient systems of philosophy both nearest 
to, and furthest from, Christianity : nearest in the purity and 
sublimity of its maxims and the virtues of simplicity, equa- 
nimity, self-control, and resignation to an all-wise Providence ; 
furthest in the spirit of pride, self-reliance, haughty contempt, 

1 Niebuhr says of Seneca : " He acted on the principle that he could dis 
pense with the laws of morality which he laid down for others." Macaulay : 
"The business of the philosopher was to declaim in praise of poverty, with 
two millions sterling at' usury ; to meditate epigrammatic conceits about the 
evils of luxury in gardens which moved the envy of sovereigns; to rant 
about liberty while fawning on the insolent and pampered freedman of a 
tyrant; to celebrate the divine beauty of virtue w'm the same pen which had 
just before written a defense of the murder of a mother by a son." Farrar 
(L c. p. 161) : "In Seneca's life, we see as clearly as in those of many pro- 
fessed Christians that it is impossible to be at once worldly and righteous. 
His utter failure was due to the vain attempt to combine in his own person 
*wo opposite characters that of a Stoic and that of a courtier .... In him 
we see some of the most glowing pictures of the nobility of poverty combined 
with the most questionable avidity in the pursuit of wealth." For a con- 
venient collection of Seneca's resemblances to Scripture, see Farrar, ch. XV., 
174-185. The most striking passages are : " A sacred spirit dwells within us, 
the observer and guardian of all our evil and our good . . . there is no good 
man without God." Ep. ad LuriL 41. Comp. 1 Cor. 3 : 16. " Not one of us 
is without fault ... no man is found who can acquit himself." De Ira 1. 14 ; 
II, 27. Comp. 1 John 1:8. " Eiches .... the greatest source of human 
trouble." De Frangu. An. 8. Comp. 1 Tim. 6: 10. "You must live foi 
another, if you wish to live for yourself." Ep. 48. Comp. Eom. 12 : 10. 
" Let him who hath conferred a favor hold his tongue." De Bentf. II. 11 
Comp. Matt. 6 : 3. 

191. EPICTETUS. 321 

and cold indifference. Pride is the basis of Stoic virtue, while 
humility is the basis of Christian holiness ; the former is in- 
spired by egotism, the latter by love to God and man; the 
Stoic feels no need of a Saviour, and calmly resorts to suicide 
when the house smokes ; while the Christian life begins with a 
sense of sin, and ends with triumph over death ; the resignation 
of the Stoic is heartless apathy and a surrender to the iron 
necessity of fate ; the resignation of the Christian, is cheerful 
submission to the will of an all-wise and all-merciful Father in 
heaven ; the Stoic sage resembles a cold, immovable statue, the 
Christian saint a living body, beating in hearty sympathy with 
every joy and grief of his fellow-men. At best, Stoicism is 
only a philosophy for the few, while Christianity is a religion 
for all. 

91. Epictetus. 

EPICTETI. Dissertationum ab Arriano digestarum Libri IV. HJuiusdem 

Enchiridion et ex deperditis Sermonibus Fragmenta . . . recensuit . . 

JOH. ScHWEiGHlusER. Lips. 1799, 1800. 5 vols. The Greek text 

with a Latin version and notes. 
The Works of EPICTETUS. Consisting of Ms Discourses, in four 'books, 

the Enchiridion, and Fragments. A translation from the Greek, based 

on that of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, by THOMAS WENTWORTH HlGOrsr- 

SON. Boston (Little, Brown & Co.), 1865. A fourth ed. of Mrs. 

Carter's translation was published in 1807, with introduction and 

The Discourses of EPICTETUS, with the Enchiridion and Fragments. 

Translated, with Notes, etc., by GEORGE LONG. London (George 

Bell & Sons), 1877. 

There are also other English, as well as German and French, 


Epictetus was born before the middle of the first century, at 
Hierapolis, a city in Phrygia, a few miles from Colossse and 
Laodicea, well known to us from apostolic history. He was a 
compatriot and contemporary of Epaphras, a pupil of Paul, 
and founder of Christian churches in that province. 1 There ia 

Vol.II. 21. '001.1:7; 4: 12, 13. 

322 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

a bare possibility that he had a passing acquaintance with him, 
if not with Paul himself. He came as a slave to Eome with 
his master, Epaphroditus, a profligate freedman and favorite of 
Nero (whom he aided in committing suicide), and was after- 
wards set at liberty. He rose above his condition. " Freedom 
and slavery," he says in one of his Fragments, " are but names 
of virtue and of vice, and both depend upon the will. No one 
is a slave whose will is free." He was lame in one foot and 
in feeble health. The lameness, if we are to credit the report 
of Origen, was the result of ill treatment, which he bore 
heroically. When his master put his leg in the torture, he 
quietly said : " You will break my leg ; " and when the leg was 
broken, he added : " Did I not tell you so ? " This reminds 
<Mie of Socrates who is reported to have borne a scolding and 
subsequent shower from Xantippe with the cool remark : After 
the thunder comes the rain. Epictetus heard the lectures of 
Musonius Eufus, a distinguished teacher of the Stoic philosophy 
under Nero and Vespasian, and began himself to teach. He 
was banished from Eome by Domitian, with all other philoso- 
phers, before A. D. 90. He settled for the rest of his life in 
Nicopolis, in Southern Epirus, not far from the scene of the 
battle of Actium. There he gathered around him a large body 
of pupils, old and young, rich and poor, and instructed them, 
as a second Socrates, by precept and example, in halls and public 
places. The emperor Hadrian is reported to have invited him 
back to Rome (117), but in vain. The date of his death is 

Epictetus led from principle and necessity a life of poverty 
and extreme simplicity, after the model of Diogenes, the arch- 
Cynic. His only companions were an adopted child with a 
nurse. His furniture consisted of a bed, a cooking vessel and 
earthen lamp. Lucian ridicules one of his admirers, who 
bought the lamp for three thousand drachmas, in the hope of 
becoming a philosopher by using it. Epictetus discouraged 
marriage and the procreation of children. Marriage might do 
well in a " community of wise men," but " in the present state 

291. EPICTETUS. 323 

of things/' which he compared to " an army in battle array," it 
is likely to withdraw the philosopher from the service of God. 1 
This view, as well as the reason assigned, resembles the advice 
of St. Paul, with the great difference, that the apostle had the 
highest conception of the institution of marriage as reflecting 
the mystery of Christ's union with the church. " Look at me," 
says Epictetus, "who am without a city, without a house, 
without possessions, without a slave ; I sleep on the ground ; I 
have no wife, no children, no prsetorium, but only the earth and 
the heavens, and one poor cloak. And what do I want? Am 
I not without sorrow ? Am I not without fear ? Am I not 
free ? . . . Did I ever blame God or man ? . . . "Who, when 
he sees me, does not think that he sees his king and master?" 
His epitaph fitly describes his character : " I was Epictetus, a 
slave, and maimed in body, and a beggar for poverty, and dear 
to the immortals." 

Epictetus, like Socrates, his great exemplar, ^wrote nothing 
himself, but he found a Xenophon. His pupil and friend, 
Flavins Arrianus, of Nicomedia, in Bithynia, the distinguished 
historian of Alexander the Great, and a soldier and statesman 
under Hadrian, handed to posterity a report of the oral instruc- 
tions and familiar conversations (dearptftal) of his teacher. 
Only four of the original eight books remain. He also col- 
lected his chief maxims in a manual (Enchiridion). His 
biography of that remarkable man is lost. 

Epictetus starts, like Zeno and Cleanthes, with a thoroughly 
practical view of philosophy, as the art and exercise of virtue, 
in accordance with reason and the laws of nature. He bases 
virtue on faith in God, as the supreme power of the universe, 
who directs all events for benevolent purposes. The philosopher 
is a teacher of righteousness, a physician and surgeon of the 
srck who feel their weakness, and are anxious to be cured. He 

1 Disc. in. 22. Comp. 1 Cor. 7 : 35 ; but also Eph. 5 : 28-33. Farrar, L c., 
p. 213, thinks that the philosopher and the apostle agree in recommending 
celihacy as "a counsel of perfection." But this is the Boman Catholic, not 
the Scripture view. 

324 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

is a priest and messenger of the gods to erring men, that the; 
might learn to be happy even in utter want of earthly posses- 
sions. If we wish to be good, we must first believe that we are 
bad. Mere knowledge without application to life is worthless. 
Every man has a guardian spirit, a god within him who never 
sleeps, who always keeps him company, even in solitude ; this 
is the Sooratic daimonion, the personified conscience. We must 
listen to its divine voice. " Think of God more often than you 
breathe. Let discourse of God be renewed daily, more surely 
than your food." The sum of wisdom is to desire nothing but 
freedom and contentment, and to bear and forbear. All una- 
voidable evil in the world is only apparent and external, and 
does not touch our being. Our happiness depends upon our 
own will, which even Zeus cannot break. The wise man joy- 
ously acquiesces in what he cannot control, knowing that an 
all-wise Father rules the whole. " We ought to have these two 
rules always in readiness : that there is nothing good or evil 
t except in the will ; and that we ought not to lead events, but to 
follow them." J If a brother wrongs me, that is his fault my 
business is to conduct myself rightly towards him. The wise 
man is not disturbed by injury and injustice, and loves even his 
enemies. All men are brethren and children of God. They 
own the whole world ; and hence even banishment is no evil. 
The soul longs to be freed from the prison house of the body 
and to return to God. 

Yet Epictetus does not clearly teach the immortality of the 
soul. He speaks of death as a return the elements in suc- 
cessive conflagrations. Seneca approaches much more nearly 
the Platonic and Socratic, we may say Christian, view of im- 
mortality. The prevailing theory of the Stoics was, that at the 
end of the world all individual souls will be resolved into the 
primary substance of the Divine Being. 2 

1 Discourses, III. 10. Here E. discusses the manner in which we ought to 
bear sickness. 

f The only point about which the Stoics were undecided was, whether all 
souls would last until that time as separate souls, or whether, as Chrysippue 
held, only the souls of the wise would survive." Zeller, L c., p. 205. 


Epictetus nowhere alludes directly to Christianity, but he 
speaks once of " Galileans/' who by enthusiasm or madness 
were free from all fear. 1 He often recurs to his predecessors, 
Socrates, Diogenes, Zeno ; Musonius Rufus. His ethical ideal 
is a Cynic philosopher, naked, penniless, wifeless, childless, 
without want or desire, without passion or temper, kindly, 
independent, contented, impert-urbable, looking serenely or 
indifferently at life and death. It differs as widely from the 
true ideal as Diogenes who lived in a tub, and sought with a 
lantern in day-light for " a man," differs from Christ who, in- 
deed, had not where to lay his head, but went about doing good 
to the bodies and souls of men. 

Owing to the purity of its morals, the Enchiridion of 
Epictetus was a favorite book. Simplicius, a Neo-Platonist, 
wrote an elaborate commentary on it ; and monks in the middle 
ages reproduced and Christianized it. Origen thought Epictetus 
had done more good than Plato. Niebuhr says: "His great- 
ness cannot be questioned, and it is impossible for any person 
of sound mind not to be charmed by his works." Higginson 
says : " I am acquainted with no book more replete with high 
conceptions of the deity and noble aims of man/' This is, of 
course, a great exaggeration, unless the writer means to confine 
his comparison to heathen works. 

92. Marcus Aurdius. 

Mdp/coo) 'A.VTQVLVOVTOV avroKp&ropog T&> el? cdvrov fiijftda t^'(De Eebus swis 
libri Ed. by THOMAS G-ATAKER, with a Latin Version and 
Notes (including those of Casanbon). Trajecti ad Bhenum, 1697, 
2 vols. fol. The second vol. contains critical dissertations. (The 

1 Disc. IV. 7 : "Through madness (fab ftaviag) it is possible for a man to 
be so disposed towards these things and through habit (fab Iflwf), as the 
Galileans." By Galileans he no doubt means Christians, and the allusion is 
rather contemptuous, like the allusion of Marcus Aurelius to the martyrs, 
with this difference that the emperor attributes to obstinacy what Epictetus 
attributes to " habit." But Schweighauser (II. 913 sq.) suspects that the read- 
ing fab Z&ov? is false, and that Arrian wrote fab aKcrvoiag, &$ ol Tab,., so that 
Epictetus ascribed to the Christians fury and desperation or dementia. To 
the Greeks the gospel is foolishness, 1 Cor. 1 : 22. 

326 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

first ed. appeared at Cambridge, 1652, in 1 vol.) English translation 
by GEORGE LONG, revised ed. London, 1880. 

See the liter, quoted in J 20, p. 52 sq. (especially Benan's Mdro 
Aurlk, 1882). 

Marcus Aurelius, the last and best representative of Stoicism, 
ruled thje Roman Empire for twenty years (A. D. 161-180) at 
the height of its power and prosperity. He was born April 26, 
121, in Rome, and carefully educated and disciplined in Stoic 
wisdom. Hadrian admired him for his good nature, docility, 
and veracity, and Antoninus Pius adopted him as his son and 
successor. He learned early to despise the vanities of the 
world, maintained the simplicity of a philosopher in the 
splendor of the court, and found time for retirement and 
meditation amid the cares of government and border wars, in 
which he was constantly engaged. Epictetus was his favorite 
author. He left us his best thoughts, a sort of spiritual auto- 
biography, in the shape of a diary which he wrote, not without 
some self-complacency, for his own improvement and enjoy- 
ment during the last years of his life (172-175) in the military 
camp among the barbarians. He died in Panonia of the pes- 
tilence which raged in the army (March 17, ISO). 1 His last 
words were : " Weep not for me, weep over the pestilence and 
the general misery, 2 and save the army. Farewell I" He 
dismissed his servants and friends, even his son, after a last 
interview, and died alone. 

The philosophic emperor was a sincere believer in the gods, 
their revelations and all-ruling providence. His morality and 
religion were blended. But he had no clear views of the 
divinity. He alternately uses the language of the polytheist, 
the deist, and the pantheist* He worshipped the deity of the 
universe and in his own breast. He thanks the gods for his 
good parents and teachers, for his pious mother, for * a wife, 

1 According to less probable accounts he died of suicide, or of poison ad- 
ministered to him by order of his son, Commodus. See Benan, p. 485. 

* '* Quid me fletis, et non magis de pestilentia et eonmum morte cogitati*?* 
Capitolinua, M. Aurelius. 


whom he blindly praises as " amiable, affectionate, and pure/' 
and for all the goods of life. His motto was " never to wrong 
any man in deed or word." l He claimed no perfection, yet 
was conscious of his superiority, and thankful to the gods that 
he was better than other men. He traced the sins of men merely 
to ignorance and error. He was mild, amiable, and gentle; in 
these respects the very reverse of a hard and severe Stoic, and 
nearly approaching a disciple of Jesus. We must admire his 
purity, truthfulness, philanthropy, conscientious devotion to 
duty, his serenity of mind in the midst of the temptations of 
power and severe domestic trials, and his resignation to the will 
of providence. He was fully appreciated in his time, and uni- 
versally beloved by his subjects. We may well call him among 
the heathen the greatest and best man of his age. 2 " It seems " 
(says an able French writer, Martha), " that in him the philo- 
sophy of heathenism grows less proud, draws nearer and nearer 
to a Christianity which it ignored or which it despised, and is 
ready to fling itself into the arms of the ' Unknown God/ In 
the sad Meditations of Aurelius we find a pure serenity, sweet- 
ness, and docility to the commands of God, which before him 
were unknown, and which Christian grace has alone surpassed. 
If he has not yet attained to charity in all that fullness of 
meaning which Christianity has given to the world, he has 

1 Medit. v. 31. 

2 So Benan, Marc- Aurfle, p. 488, without qualification : '* Avec lui, la 
ph'Hosophie a r$gn&. Un moment, grdce ci tui } le monde a & gow)&rn par rhomane 
le meiUeur et le plvs grand de son si&cle" But elsewhere he puts Antoninus Pius 
above Aurelius. "Of the two/' he says (Conferences d'Angleterre, translated 
by Clara Erskine Clement, p. 140 sq.): "I consider Antonine the greatest. 
His goodness did not lead him into .faults : he was not tormented with that 
internal trouble which disturbed, without ceasing, the heart of his adopted 
son. This strange malady, this restless study of himself, this demon of 
scrupulousness, this fever of perfection, are signs of a less strong and distin- 
guished nature. As the finest thoughts are those which are not written, 
Anlonine had in this respect also a superiority over Marcus Aurelius. But 
let us add, that we should be ignorant of Antonine, if Marcus Aurelius had 
not transmitted to us that exquisite portrait of his adopted father, in which 
he seems to have applied himself through humility, to painting the picture of 
a better man than himself." 

328 SECOND PEBTOD. A. D. 100-311. 

already gained its unction, and one cannot read his book, unique 
in the history of Pagan philosophy, without thinking of the 
sadness of Pascal and the gentleness of F6n6lon." 

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius are full of beautiful 
moral maxims, strung together without system. They bear a 
striking resemblance to Christian ethics. They rise to a certain 
universalism and humanitarianism which is foreign to the 
heathen spirit, and a prophecy of a new age, but could only be 
realized on a Christian basis. Let us listen to some of his most 
characteristic sentiments : 

"It is sufficient to attend to the demon [the good genius] 

within, and to reverence it sincerely. And reverence for the 

demon consists in keeping it pure from passion and thoughtless- 

ness and dissatisfaction with what comes from God and men." l 

" Do not act as if thou wert going to live ten thousand years. 

Death hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy 

power, be good." 2 " Do not disturb thyself. Make thyself all 

simplicity. Does any one do wrong ? It is to himself that he 

does the wrong. Has anything happened to thee ? "Well ; out 

of the universe from the beginning everything which happens 

has been apportioned and spun out to thee. In a word, thy 

life is short. Thou must turn to profit the present by the aid 

of reason and justice. Be sober in thy relaxation. Either it is 

a well-arranged universe or a chaos huddled together, but still 

a universe," 3 "A man must stand erect, and not be kept erect 

by others." * "Have I done something for the general interest ? 

Well, then, I have had my reward. Let this always be present 

to my mind, and never stop [doing good]." 5 " What is thy 

art ? to be good." 6 "It is a man's duty to comfort himself, and 

to wait for the natural dissolution, and not to be vexed at the 

delay." 7 " O Nature : from thee are all things, in thee are all 

things, to thee all things return."' 8 " Willingly give thyself 

up to Clotho " [one of the fates], " allowing her to spin thy 

thread into whatever things she pleases. Every thing is only 

. 13. 2 IV.17. 3 IV. 26, 27. *III. 5. 

6 IX. 4. e IX. 5. V- 10. IV. 23. 


for a day, both that which remembers and that which is remem- 
bered." 1 " Consider that before long thou wilt be nobody and 
nowhere, nor will any of the things exist which thou now 
seest, nor any of those who are now living. For all things are 
formed by nature to change and be turned, and to perish, in 
order that other things in continuous succession may exist." 2 
"It is best to leave this world as early as possible, and to bid it 
friendly farewell/' 3 

These reflections are pervaded by a tone of sadness; they 
excite emotion, but no enthusiasm; they have no power to 
console, but leave an aching void, without hope of an immor- 
tality, except a return to the bosom of mother nature. They 
are the rays of a setting, not of a rising, sun ; they are the swan- 
song of dying Stoicism. The end of that noble old Roman was 
virtually the end of the antique world.* 

The cosmopolitan philosophy of Marcus Aurelius had no 
sympathy with Christianity, and excluded from its embrace the 
most innocent and most peaceful of his subjects. Htf makes 
but one allusion to the Christians, and unjustly traces their 
readiness for martyrdom, to ' { sheer obstinacy " and a desire for 
" theatrical display." 6 ^He may have had in view some fanatical 
enthusiasts who rushed into the fire, like Indian gymnosophists, 
but possibly such venerable martyrs as Polycarp and those of 
Southern Gaul in his own reign. Hence the strange phe- 
nomenon that the wisest and best of Eoman emperors permitted 
(we cannot say, instigated, or even authorized) some of the most 
cruel persecutions of Christians, especially in Lugdunum and 

1 IV. 34, 35. 2 Xn. 21. 8 IX. 2, 3 ; XL 3. 

4 The significant title of Benan's book is Marc-Aurtte et la jm du mmde 

6 XL 3 : "What a soul that is which is ready, if at any moment it must be 
separated from the body, and ready either to be extinguished or dispersed, or 
continue to exist; but so that this readiness comes from a man's own judgment, 
not from m&re obstinacy, as wi& the Christians, but considerately and with dig- 
nity, and in a way to persuade another without scenic show (aTpaytiSoc)." I 
have availed myself in these extracts of Long's excellent translation, but com- 
pared them with the Greek original in Gataker's edition. 

330 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Vienne. We readily excuse him on the ground of ignorance 
He probably never saw the Sermon on the Mount, nor read any 
of the numerous Apologies addressed to him. 

But persecution is not the only blot on his reputation. He 
wasted his affections upon a vicious and worthless son, whom 
he raised in his fourteenth year to full participation of the 
imperial power, regardless of the happiness of millions, said 
upon a beautiful but faithless and wicked wife, whoa* he 
hastened after her death to cover with divine honors. His 
conduct towards Faustina was either hypocritical or un- 
principled. 1 After her death he preferred a concubine to a 
second wife and stepmother of his children. 

His son and successor left the Christians in peace, but was 
one of the worst emperors that disgraced the throne, and undid 
all the good which his father had done. 2 

Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander ; Seneca, the teachei 
of Nero ; Marcus Aurelius, the father of Commodus. 

93. Plutarch. 

UZovTdpxov row Xaipuveuc rd 'H#i/oS. Ed. Tauchnitz Lips- The same 
with, a Latin version and notes in 

1 At his earnest request the obsequious Senate "declared Faustina a goddess; 
she was represented in her temples with the attributes of Juno, Venus, and 
Ceres ; and it was decreed that on the day of their nuptials the youth of both 
sexes should pay their vows before the altar of this adulterous woman. See 
Gibbon, ch. IV. A bas-relief in the museum of the Capitol at Borne repre- 
sents Faustina borne to heaven by a messenger of the gods, and her husband 
looking at her with admiration and love. Kenan apologizes for his favorite 
hero on the ground of the marvellous beauty of Faustina, and excuses her, 
because she naturally grew tired of the dull company of an ascetic philosopher ! 

3 Kenan thus describes the sudden relapse (p. 490): "Horrible deception 
pour les gens de lien ! Tant de vertu, tant o? amour ri aboutissant qu'd mettre le 
monde entre les mains (fun Squarrisseur de Mies, tfun gladiateur ! Aprfa cette 
belle apparition un monde elyseen sur la terre, retomber dans I'enfer des Cesars, 
qu'on croyaitfermG pour toujours I La, foi dans le bien Jut alors perdue. Apres 
Caligula, apres N&ron, apres Domitien, on avait pu esperer encore. Les experiences 
ri avaientpas ete decisives. Maintenant, desl apres '& plus grand effort de rational- 
isme gouvememental, aprds quatre-ving quatre ans d?un regime excellent, apr&sNerva, 
Trajan, Adrien, Antonin, Marc-Aurdle, que le rtgne du mal recommence, pire que 
jamais. Adieu, vertu; adieu, raison. Puisque Marc-AurtU n'a pas pu 
U monde, qui le sauvera ? " 

893. PLUTARCH. 331 

PLTJTARCHI Chceronensis Horalia, id est, Opera, exc&ptis vitis, reliqua. 
Ed. by DANIEL WYTTENBACH. Oxon. 1795-1800, 8 vols. (includ- 
ing 2 Index vols.). French ed. by Dubner, in the Didot collection. 

PLUTAECH'S Morals. Translated from the Greek by several Sands. 
London, 1684-'94, 5th ed. 1718. The same as corrected and revised 
by WILLIAM W. GOODWIN (Harvard University). With an intro- 
duction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston, 1870, 5 vols. 

OCTAVE GREARD : De la moralise de Plutarque. Paris, 1866. 

RICHARD CHENEVIX TRENCH (Archbishop of Dublin) : Plutarch, his 
Life, his Parallel Lives, and his Morals. London (Macmillan & Co.), 
2nd ed. 1874. 

W. MOLLER : Ueber die Religion des Plutarch. Kiel, 1881. 

JULIA WEDGWOOD : Plutarch and the unconscious Christianity of the first 
two centuries. In the " Contemporary Review" for 1881, pp. 44-60. 

Equally remarkable, as a representative of "unconscious 
Christianity" and "seeker after the unknown God," though 
from a different philosophical standpoint, is the greatest 
biographer and moralist of classical antiquity. 

It is strange that Plutarch's contemporaries are silent about 
him. His name is not even mentioned by any Roman writer. 
What we know of him is gathered from his own works. He 
lived between A. D. 50 and 125, mostly in his native town of 
Chseroneia, in Boeotia, as a magistrate and priest of Apollos. 
He was happily married, and had four sons and a daughter, 
who died young. His Conjugal Precepts are full of good 
advice to husbands and wives. The letter of consolation he 
addressed to his wife on the death of a little daughter, 
Timoxena, while she was absent from home, gives us a 
favorable impression of his family life, and expresses his hope 
of immortality. " The souls of infants," he says at the close 
of this letter, " pass immediately into a better and more divine 
state\" He spent some time in Eome (at least twice, probably 
under Vespasian and Domitian), lectured on moral philosophy 
to select audiences, and collected material for his Parallel Lives 
of Greeks and Romans. He was evidently well-bred, in good 
circumstances, familiar with books, different countries, and 
human nature and society in all its phases. In his philosophy 
lie stands midway between Platonism and Neo-Platonism. He 

332 SECOND PEKIOD. A. D. 100-311, 

was " a Platonist with an Oriental tinge." 1 He was equally 
opposed to Stoic pantheism and Epicurean naturalism, and 
adopted the Platonic dualism of God and matter. Pie recog- 
nized a supreme God, and also the subordinate divinities of the 
Hellenic religion. The gods are good, the demons are divided 
between good and bad, the human soul combines both qualities. 
He paid little attention to metaphysics, and dwelt more on the 
practical questions of philosophy, dividing his labors between 
historical and moral topics. He was an utter stranger to Chris- 
tianity, and therefore neither friendly nor hostile. There is in 
all his numerous writings not a single allusion to it, although at 
his time there must have been churches in every considerable 
city of the empire. He often speaks of Judaism, but very 
superficially, and may have regarded Christianity as a Jewish 
sect. But his moral philosophy makes a very near approach to 
Christian ethics. 

His aim, as a^ writer, was to show the greatness in the acts 
and in the thoughts of the ancients, the former in his " Parallel 
Lives," the latter in his " Morals," and by both to inspire his 
contemporaries to imitation. They constitute together an 
encyclopaedia of well-digested Greek and Eoman learning. 
He was not a man of creative genius, but of great talent, exten- 
sive information, amiable spirit, and universal sympathy. 
Emerson calls him " the chief example of the illumination of 
the intellect by the force of morals." 1 

Plutarch endeavored .to build up morality on the basis of 
religion. He is the very opposite of Lucian, who as an archi- 
tect of ruin, ridiculed and undermined the popular religion. 
He was' a strong believer in God, and his argument against 
atheism is well worth 'quoting. "There has never been," he 
says, "a state of atheists. You may travel over the world, 
and you may find cities without walls, without king, without 

1 So Trench calls him, I c. p. 112. The best account of his philosophy is 
given by Zeller in his Philosophie der Griechen, Part III., 141-182; and mor* 
briefly by Ueberweg, Hist, of Phil. (Eiig. Ver.) I. 234-236. 

1 Introduction to Goodwin's ed. p. zi. 

?93. PLUTAECH. 333 

mint, without theatre or gymnasium ; but you will never find a 
city without God, without prayer, without oracle, without sacri- 
fice. Sooner may a city stand without foundations, than a state 
without belief in the gods. This is the bond of all society and 
the pillar of all legislation." l 

In his treatise on The Wrong Fear of the Gods, he contrasts 
superstition with atheism as the two extremes which often meet, 
and commends piety or the right reverence of the gods as the 
golden mean. Of the two extremes he deems superstition the 
worse, because it makes the gods capricious, cruel, and revenge- 
ful, while they are friends of men, saviours (crajr^sc), and not 
destroyers. (Nevertheless superstitious people can more easily 
be converted to true faith than atheists who have destroyed all 
religious instincts.) 

His remarkable treatise on The Delays of Divine Justice in 
punishing the wicked* would do credit to any Christian theo- 
logian. It is his solution of the problem of evil, or his 
theodicy. He discusses the subject with several of his relatives 
(as Job did with his friends), and illustrates it by examples. 
He answers the various objections which arise from the delay of 
justice, and vindicates Providence in his dealings with the 
sinner. He enjoins first modesty and caution in view of our 
imperfect knowledge. God only knows best when and how and 
how much to punish. He ofiers the following considerations : 

1) God teaches us to moderate our anger, and never to punish 
in a passion, but to imitate his gentleness and forbearance. 

2) He gives the wicked an opportunity to repent and reform. 

3) He permits them to live and prosper that he may use them 
as executioners of his justice on others. He often punishes the 
sinner by the sinner. 4) The wicked are sometimes spared that 
they may bless the world by a noble posterity. 5) Punishment 
is often deferred that the hand of Providence may be more 
conspicuous in its infliction. Sooner or later sin will be 
punished, if not in this world, at least in the future world, to 

: Adv. Colotem, (an Epicurean), c. 31 (Moralw, ed. Tauchnitz, VI. 265). 
a De Sera Numinis Vindicta. In Goodwin's ed. vol. IV. 140-188. 

334 SECOND PEBIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

which Plutarch points as the final solution of the mysteries of 
Providence. He looked upon death as a good thing for the 
good soul, which shall then live indeed ; while the present life 
" resembles rather the vain illusions of some dream." 

The crown of Plutarch's character is his humility, which was 
so very rare among ancient philosophers, especially the Stoics, 
and which comes from true self-knowledge. He was aware of 
the native depravity of the soul, which he calls " a storehouse 
and treasure of many evils and maladies." l Had he known 
the true and radical remedy for sin, he would no doubt have 
accepted it with gratitude. 

We do not know how far the influence of these saints of 
aucient paganism, as we may call Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, 
and Plutarch, extended over the heathens of their age, but we 
do know that their writings had and still have an elevating 
and ennobling effect upon Christian readers, and hence we may 
infer that their teaching and example were among the moral 
forces that aided rather than hindered the progress and final 
triumph of Christianity. But this religion alone could bring 
about such a general and lasting moral reform as they them- 
selves desired. 

94. Christian Morality. 

The ancient world of classic heathenism, having arrived at 
the height of its glory, and at the threshold of its decay, had 
exhausted all the resources of human nature left to itself, and 
possessed no recuperative force, no regenerative principle. A 
regeneration of society could only proceed from religion. But 
the heathen religion had no restraint for vice, no comfort for 
the poor and oppressed ; it was itself the muddy fountain of 
immorality. God, therefore, who in his infinite mercy desired 
not the destruction but the salvation of the race, opened in the 
midst of this hopeless decay of a false religion a pure fountain 

n KOI TroAvTradef KaK&v rapetav Kal dqaavpLGfj.^ <&f fa/ct 
Animi Tie an corporis afectiones sint pejores, c. 2 (in Wyttenbach's ed. Tom. 
III. p. 17). 


o^ holiness, love, and peace, in the only true and universal 
religion of his Son Jesus Christ. 

In the cheerless waste of pagan corruption the small and 
despised band of Christians was an oasis fresh with life and 
hope. It was the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. 
Poor in this world's goods, it bore the imperishable treasures 
of the kingdom of heaven. Meek and lowly in heart, it was 
destined, according to the promise of the Lord, without a stroke 
of the sword, to inherit the earth. In submission it conquered ; 
by suffering and death it won the crown of life. 

The superiority of the principles of Christian ethics over the 
heathen standards of morality even under its most favorable 
forms is universally admitted. The superiority of the example 
of Christ over all the heathen sages is likewise admitted. The 
power of that peerless example was and is now as great as the 
power of his teaching. It is reflected in every age and every 
type of purity and goodness. But every period, while it shares 
in the common virtues and graces, has its peculiar moral 
physiognomy. The ante^Nicene age excelled in unworldliness, 
in the heroic endurance of suffering and persecution, in the 
contempt of death, and the hope of resurrection, in -the strong 
sense of community, and in active benevolence. 

Christianity, indeed, does not come " with observation." Its 
deepest workings are silent and inward. The operations of 
divine grace commonly shun the notice of the historian, and 
await their revelation on the great day of account, when all 
that is secret shall be made known. Who can measure the 
depth and breadth of all those blessed experiences of forgive- 
ness, peace, gratitude, trust in God, love for God and love for 
man, humility and meekness, patience and resignation, which 
have bloomed as vernal flowers on the soil of the renewed heart 
since the first Christian Pentecost? Who can tell the number 
and the fervor of Christian prayers and intercessions which 
have gone up from lonely chambers, caves, deserts, and martyrs' 
graves, in the silent night and the open day, for friends and 
foes, for all classes of mankind, even for cruel persecutors, to 

336 SECOND PEKIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

the throne of the exalted Saviour ? But where this Christian 
life has taken root in the depths of the soul it must show itself 
in the outward conduct, and exert an elevating influence on 
every calling and sphere of action. The Christian morality 
surpassed all that the noblest philosophers of heathendom had 
ever taught or labored for as the highest aim of man. The 
masterly picture of it in the anonymous Epistle to Diognetus 
is no mere fancy sketch, but a faithful copy from real life. 1 

When the apologists indignantly repel the heathen calumnies, 
and confidently point to the unfeigned piety, the brotherly love, 
the love for enemies, the purity and chastity, the faithfulness 
and integrity, the patience and gentleness, of the confessors of 
the name of Jesus, they speak from daily experience and per. 
sonal observation. " We, who once served lust," could Justin 
Martyr say without exaggeration, " now find our delight only 
in pure morals ; we, who once followed sorcery, have now con- 
secrated ourselves to the eternal good God ; we, who once loved 
gain above all, now give up what we have for the common use, 
and share with every needy one ; we, who once hated and killed 
each other; we, who would have no common hearth with 
foreigners for difference of customs, now, since the appearance 
of Christ, live with them, pray for our enemies, seek to con- 
vince those who hate us without cause, that they may regulate 
their life according to the glorious teaching of Christ, and 
receive from the all-ruling God the same blessings with our- 
selves." Tertullian could boast that he knew no Christians 
who suffered by the hand of the executioner, except for their 
religion. Minutius Felix tells the heathens 2 : " You prohibit 
adultery by law, and practise it in secret ; you punish wicked- 
ness only in the overt act ; we look upon it as criminal even in 
thought. You dread the inspection of others; we stand in 
awe of nothing but our own consciences as becomes Christians. 
And finally your prisons are overflowing with criminals ; but 
they are all heathens, not a Christiaa is there, unless he be an 

2 See $ 2, p. 9. sq. O&avius, cap. 3- 


apostate." Even Pliny informed Trajan, that the Christians, 
whom he questioned on the rack respecting the character of 
their religion, had bound themselves by an oath never to commit 
theft, robbery, nor adultery, nor to break their word and this, 
too, at a time when the sins of fraud, uncleanness, and las- 
civiousness of every form abounded all around. Another 
heathen, Lucian, bears- testimony to their benevolence and 
charity for their brethren in distress, while he attempts to 
ridicule this virtue as foolish weakness in an age of unbounded 

The humble and painful condition of the church under 
civil oppression made hypocrisy more rare than in times of 
peace, and favored the development of the heroic virtues. The 
Christians delighted to regard themselves as soldiers of Christ, 
enlisted under the victorious standard of the cross against sin, 
the world, and the devil. The baptismal vow was their oath 
of perpetual allegiance; 1 the Apostles' creed their parole; 2 the 
sign of the cross upon the forehead, their mark of service ; 3 
temperance, courage, and faithfulness unto death, their cardinal 
virtues; the blessedness of heaven, their promised reward. 
" No soldier," exclaims Tertullian to the Confessors, "goes with 
his sports or from his bed-chamber to the battle ; but from th 
camp, where he hardens and accustoms himself to every incon- 
venience. Even in peace warriors learn to bear labor ancl 
fatigue, going through all military exercises, that neither soul 

nor body may flag Ye wage a good warfare, in which 

the living God is the judge of the combat, the Holy Spirit the 
leader, eternal glory the prize." To this may be added* the 
eloquent passage of Minutius Felix 4 : " How fair a spectacle in 
the sight of God is a Christian entering the lists with affliction, 
and with noble firmness combating menaces and tortures, or 
with a disdainful smile marching to death through the clamors 
of the people, and the insults of the executioners; when he 
bravely maintains his liberty against kings and princes, and 

1 Sacramentum militia Christiana. * Symbolum, or, tessera mMtarris. 

3 Character mititaris, stigma mttitare. * Otfavius, cap. 37 

v l. II. 22 

338 SECOND PEEIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

submits to God, whose servant he is ; when, like a conqueror, 
he triumphs over the judge that condemns him. For he cer- 
tainly is victorious who obtains what he fights for. He fights 
under the eye of God, and is crowned with length of days. 
You have exalted some of your stoical sufferers to the skies ; 
such as Scaevola who, having missed his aim in an attempt to 
kill the king, voluntarily burned the mistaking hand. Yet 
how many among us have suffered not only the hand, but the 
whole body to be consumed without a complaint, when their 
deliverance was in their own power !' But why should I com- 
pare our elders with your Mutius, or Aquilius, or Regulus, 
when our very children, our sons and daughters, inspired with 
patience, despise your racks and wild beasts, and all other 
instruments of cruelty? Surely nothing but the' strongest 
reasons could persuade people to suffer at this rate; and 
nothing else but Almighty power could support them under 
their sufferings." 

Yet, on the other hand, the Christian life of the period before 
Constantine has been often unwarrantably idealized. In a 
human nature essentially the same, we could but expect the 
same faults which we found even in the apostolic churches. 
The Epistles of Cyprian afford incontestable evidence, that, 
especially in the intervals of repose, an abatement of zeal soon 
showed itself, and, on the reopening of persecution, the Chris- 
tian name was dishonored by hosts of apostates. ' And not 
seldom did the most prominent virtues, courage in death, and 
strictness of morals, degenerate into morbid fanaticism and un- 
natural rigor. 

95. The Church and Public Amusements. 

TERTTTLLIAN : De Spectaculis. On the Eoman Spectacles see the abun- 
dant references in FKIEDLAEBTDER, II. 255-580 (5th ed.) 

Christianity is anything but sanctimonious gloominess and 
misanthropic austerity. It is the fountain of true joy, and of 
that peace which "passeth all understanding." But this joy 
wells up from the consciousness of pardon and of fellowship 


with God, is inseparable from holy earnestness, and has no con- 
cord with worldly frivolity and sensual amusement, which carry 
the sting of a bad conscience, and beget only disgust and bitter 
remorse. "What is more blessed," asks Tertullian, "than 
reconciliation with God our Father and Lord ; than the revela- 
tion of the truth, the knowledge of error ; than the forgiveness 
of so great past misdeeds ? Is there a greater joy than the dis- 
gust with earthly pleasure, than contempt for the whole world, 
than true freedom, than an unstained "conscience, than content- 
ment in life and fearlessness in death ? " 

Contrast with this the popular amusements of the heathen : 
the theatre, the circus, and the arena. They were originally 
connected with the festivals of the gods, but had long lost their 
religious character and degenerated into nurseries of vice. The 
theatre, once a school -jf public morals in the best days of 
Greece, when Aeschylos anc 1 Sophocles furnished the plays, had 
since the time of Augustus room only for low comedies and 
unnatural tragedies, with splendid pageantry, frivolous music, 
and licentious dances. 1 Tertullian represents it as the temple 
of Venus and Bacchus, who are close allies as patrons of lust 
and drunkenness. 2 The circus was devoted to horse and chariot 
races, hunts of wild beasts, military displays and athletic games, 
and attracted immense multitudes. "The impatient crowd," 
says the historian of declining Kome, 3 " rushed at the dawn of 
day to secure their places, and there were many who passed a 
sieepless and anxious night in the adjacent porticos. From the 
morning to the evening, careless of the sun or of the rain, the 
spectators, who sometimes amounted to the number of four 
hundred thousand, remained in eager attention ; their eyes fixed 
on the horses and charioteers, their minds agitated with hope 

1 Friedlaender, II. 391 : " Neben den gewcdtigen Aufregungen, die Cvrcus und 
Arena boten t konnte die Buhne ihre Amdehungskrafi JUT die Massen nur durcb 
unedle Mittel behav/pten, durch rohe Bdustigung und rajfinirten Sinnenkitssel : und 
so hat sie, statt dem vwderblichen Einfluss jener anderen Schauspiele die Wage z* 
halten, vw Corruption und Verwtid&rung Horns nicht am wenigsten beigetragcn," 

2 De Spectac. c. 10. Comp.Minut, Felix, Octav. c. 37, 
s Gibbon, ch. XXXI. (yol. HI. 384, ed. Smith), 

340 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

and fear for the success of the colors which they espoused ; and 
the happiness of Rome appeared to hang on the event of a race. 
The same immoderate ardor inspired their clamors and their 
applause as often as they were entertained with the hunting of 
wild beasts and the various modes of theatrical representation." 

The most popular, and at the same time the most inhuman 
and brutalizing of these public spectacles were the gladiatorial 
fights in the arena. There murder was practised as an art, 
from sunrise to sunset, and myriads of men and beasts were 
sacrificed to satisfy a savage curiosity and thirst for blood. At 
the inauguration of the Flavian amphitheatre from five to nine 
thousand wild beasts (according to different accounts) were slain 
in one day. No less than ten thousand gladiators fought in the 
feasts which Trajan gave to the Romans after the conquest of 
Dacia, and which lasted four months (A. D. 107). Under 
Probus (A. D. 281) as many as a hundred lions, a hundred 
lionesses, two hundred leopards, three hundred bears, and a 
thousand wild boars were massacred in a single day. 1 The 
spectacles of the worthless Carinus (284) who selected his 
favorites and even his ministers from the dregs of the populace, 
are said to have surpassed those of all his predecessors. The 
gladiators were condemned criminals, captives of war, slaves, 
and professional fighters; in times of persecution innocent 
Christians were not spared, but thrown before lions and tigers. 
Painted savages from Britain, blonde Germans from the Rhine 
and Danube, negroes from Africa, and wild beasts, then much 
more numerous than now, from all parts of the world, were 
brought to the arena. Domitian arranged fights of dwarfs ancl 

The emperors patronized these various spectacles as the surest 
means of securing the favor of the people, which clamored for 
" Panem et Circenses" Enormous sums were wasted on them 
from the public treasury and private purses. Augustus set the 
example. Nero was so extravagantly liberal in this direction 

1 Gibbon, ch. XII. (I. 646). 


that the populace forgave his horrible vices, and even wished 
his return from death. The parsimonious Vespasian built the 
most costly and colossal amphitheatre the world has ever seex^ 
incrusted with marble, decorated with statues, and furnished 
with gold, silver, and amber. Titus presented thousands of 
Jewish captives after the capture of Jerusalem to the provinces 
of the East for slaughter in the arena. Even Trajan and 
Marcus Aurelius made bountiful provision for spectacles, and 
the latter, Stoic as he was, charged the richest senators to 
gratify the public taste during his absence from Rome. Some 
emperors, as Nero, Commodus, and Caracalla, were so lost to 
all sense of dignity and decency that they delighted and gloried 
in histrionic and gladiatorial performances. Nero died by his 
own hand, with the explanation : " "What an artist perishes in 
me." Commodus appeared no less than seven hundred and 
thirty-five times on the stage in the character of Hercules, with 
club and lion's skin, and from a secure position killed countless 
beasts and men. 

The theatrical passion was not confined to Rome, it spread 
throughout the provinces. Every considerable city had an 
amphitheatre, and that was the most imposing building, as may 
be seen to this day in the ruins at Pompeii, Capua, Puteoli, 
Verona, Nismes, Autun (Augustodunum), and other places. 1 

Public opinion favored these demoralizing amusements almost 
without a dissenting voice. 3 Even such a noble heathen as 
Cicero commended them as excellent schools of courage and 
contempt of death. Epictetus alludes to them with indifference. 
Seneca is the only Roman author who, in one of his latest 
writings, condemned the bloody spectacles from the standpoint 
of humanity, but without effect. Paganism had no proper 
conception of the sanctity of human life; and even the Stoic 

1 See the long list of amphitheatres in Friedlaender, II. 502-566. 

* Friedlaender, H 370 : " In der ganzen romischen Literatur begegnen mr kaum 
einer Aeusserung des Abscheus, den die keutige Welt gegen diese unmenschlichen 
ZflislbarJceiten evnpfindet. In der Hegel werdm die Fechterspiele mit der gr'dssten 
Gleichgiltigkeit erwahnt. Die Kinder spielm Gladiatoren wie jetzt in Andalusun 
Sticr und Matadvr." 

342 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

philosophy, while it might disapprove of bloody games as brutal 
and inhuman, did not condemn them as the sin of murder. 

To this gigantic evil the Christian church opposed an inexo- 
rable Puritanic rigor in the interest of virtue and humanity. 
No compromise was possible with such shocking public im- 
morality. Nothing would do but to flee from it and to warn 
against it. The theatrical spectacles were included in " the 
pomp of the devil/' which Christians renounced at their bap- 
tism. They were forbidden, on pain of excommunication, to 
attend them. It sometimes happened that converts, who were 
overpowered by their old habits and visited the theatre, 
either relapsed into heathenism, or fell for a long time into a 
state of deep dejection. Tatianus calls the spectacles ter- 
rible feasts, in which the soul feeds on human flesh and 
blood. Tertullian attacked them without mercy, even before 
he joined the rigorous Montanists. He reminds the catechu- 
mens, who were about to consecrate themselves to the service 
of God, that " the condition of faith and the laws of Christian 
discipline forbid, among other sins of the world, the pleasures 
of the public shows." They excite, he says, all sorts of wild 
and impure passions, anger, fury, and lust ; while the spirit of 
Christianity is a spirit of meekness, peace, and purity. " What 
a man should not say he should not hear. All licentious 
speech, nay, every idle word is condemned by God. The 
things which defile a man in going out of his mouth, defile him 
also when they go in at his eyes and ears. The true wrestlings 
of the Christian are to overcome unchastity by chastity, perfidy 
by faithfulness, cruelty by compassion and charity." Tertullian 
refutes the arguments with which loose Christians would plead 
for those fascinating amusements; their appeals to the silence 
of the Scriptures, or even to the dancing of David before the 
ark, and to Paul's comparison of the Christian life with the 
Grecian games. He winds up with a picture of the fast 
approaching day of judgment, to which we should look for- 
ward. He inclined strongly to the extreme view, that all art 
is a species of fiction and falsehood, and inconsistent with 


Christian truthfulness. In two other treatises l he warned the 
Christian women against all displa7 of dress, in which the 
heathen women shone in temples, theatres, and public places. 
Visit not such places, says he to them, and appear in public 
only for earnest reasons. The handmaids of God must distin- 
guish themselves even outwardly from the handmaids of Satan, 
and set the latter a good example of simplicity, decorum, and 

The opposition of the Church had, of course, at first only a 
moral effect, but in the fourth century it began to affect legis- 
lation, and succeeded at last in banishing at least the bloody 
gladiatorial games from the civilized world (with the single 
exception of Spain and the South American countries,, which 
still disgrace themselves by bull-fights). Constantine, even as 
late as 313, committed a great multitude of defeated barbarians 
to the wild beasts for the amusement of the people, and was 
highly applauded for this generous act by a heathen orator; 
but after the Council of Nicsea, in 325, he issued the first pro- 
hibition of those bloody spectacles in times of peace, and kept 
them out of Constantinople. 2 "There is scarcely," says a 
liberal historian of moral progress, " any other single reform so 
important in the moral history of mankind as the suppression 
of the gladiatorial shows, and this feat must be almost exclu- 
sively ascribed to the Christian, church. When we remember 
how extremely few of the best and greatest men of the Eoman 
world had absolutely condemned the games of the amphitheatre, 
it is impossible to regard, without the deepest admiration, the 
unwavering and uncompromising consistency of the patristic 
denunciations." 3 

96. Secular Callings and OiM Duties. 

As to the various callings of life, Christianity gives the in- 
struction : " Let each man abide in that calling wherein he was 

1 De HMtu Muliebri, and De Otdtu Feminarum. 

a On the action of his successors, see vol. III. 122 sq. 

Lecky, Hist. ofJSurap. Morals, II. 36 sq. 

344 SECOND PERIOD. *A.D. 100-311. 

called." l It forbids no respectable pursuit, and only requires 
that it be followed in a new spirit to the glory of God and the 
benefit of men. This is one proof of its universal application 
its power to enter into all the relations of human life and 
into all branches of society, under all forms of government. 
This is beautifully presented by the unknown author of the 
Epistle to Diognetus. Tertullian protests to the heathens: 2 
" We are no Brahmins nor Indian gymnosophists, no hermits, 
no exiles from life. 3 We are mindful of the thanks we owe to 
God, our Lord and Creator ; we despise not the enjoyment of 
his works ; we only temper it, that we may avoid excess and 
abuse. We dwell, therefore, with you in this world, not with- 
out markets and fairs, not without baths, inns, shops, and 
every kind of intercourse. We carry on commerce and war, 4 
agriculture and trade with you. We take part in your pursuits, 
and give our labor for your use/' 

But there were at that time some callings which either 
ministered solely to sinful gratification, like that of the stage- 
player, or were intimately connected with the prevailing 
idolatry, like the manufacture, decoration, and sale of mytho- 
logical images and symbols, the divination of astrologers, and 
all species of magic. These callings were strictly forbidden 
in the church, and must be renounced by the candidate for 
baptism. Other occupations, which were necessary indeed, but 
commonly perverted by the heathens to fraudulent purposes 
inn-keeping, for example were elevated by the Christian spirit. 
Theodotus at Ancyra made his house a refuge for the Christians 
and a place of prayer in the Diocletian persecution, in which he 
himself suffered martyrdom. 

In regard to military and civil offices under the heathen 
government, opinion was divided. Some, on the authority of 
such passages as Matt. 5 : 39 and 26 : 52, condemned all war 
as unchristian and immoral; anticipating the views of ttie 
Mennonites and Friends. Others appealed to the good 

* 1 Cor. 7* 20. ' Apol c. 42. Ernies vitcc. 

4 "Mlitcmus," which proves that many Christians served in the* army. 


centurion of Capernaum and Cornelius of Csesarea, and held 
the military life consistent with a Christian profession. The 
tradition of the legio fulminatrisG indicates that there were 
Christian soldiers in the Koman armies under Marcus Aurelius, 
and at the time of Diocletian the number of Christians at the 
court and in civil office was very considerable. 

But in general the Christians of those days, with their lively 
sense of foreignness to this world, and their longing for the 
heavenly home, or the millennial reign of Christ, were averse 
to high office in a heathen state. Tertullian expressly says, 
that nothing was more alien to them than politics. 1 Their 
conscience required them to abstain scrupulously from all 
idolatrous usages, sacrifices, libations, and flatteries connected 
with public offices ; and this requisition must have come into 
frequent collision with their duties to the state, so long as the 
state remained heathen. They honored the emperor as ap- 
pointed to earthly government by God, and as standing nearest 
of all men to him in power; and they paid their taxes, as 
Justin Martyr expressly states, with exemplary faithfulness. 
But their obedience ceased whenever the emperor, as he fre- 
quently did, demanded of them idolatrous acts. Tertullian 
thought that the empire would last till the end of the world, 
then supposed to be near at hand, and would be irreconcilable 
with the Christian profession. Against the idolatrous worship 
of the emperor he protests with Christian boldness : "Augustus, 
the founder of the empire, would never be called Lord; for 
this is a surname of God. Yet I wiy. freely call the emperor 
so, only not in the place of God. Otherwise I am free from 
him ; for I have only one Lord, the almighty and eternal God, 

who also is the emperor's Lord Far be it from me to 

call the emperor God, which is not only the most shameful, but 
the most pernicious flattery." 

The comparative indifference and partial aversion of the 
Christians to the affairs of the state, to civil legislation and 

1 Apol c. 38 : "Nee vlla res diem magis qwm publica.'^ 

346 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-31L 

administration exposed them to the frequent reproach and con- 
tempt of the heathens* Their want of patriotism was partly 
the result of their superior devotion to the church as their 
country, partly of their situation in a hostile world. It must 
not be attributed to an " indolent or criminal disregard for the 
public welfare " (as Gibbon intimates), but chiefly to their just 
abhorrence of the innumerable idolatrous rites connected with 
the public and private life of the heathens. While they refused 
to incur the guilt of idolatry, they fervently and regularly 
prayed for the emperor and the state, their enemies and perse- 
cutors. 1 They were the most peaceful subjects, and 'luring this 
long period of almost constant provocation, ab'ise, and persecu- 
tions, they never took part in those frequent Insurrections and 
rebellions which weakened and undermined the empire. They 
renovated society from within, by revealing in their lives as 
well as in their doctrine a higher order of 'private and public 
virtue, and thus proved themselves patriots in the best sense of 
the word. 

The patriotism of ancient Greece and republican Borne, while 
it commands our admiration by the heroic devotion and sacrifice 
to the country, was after all an extended selfishness, and based 
upon the absolutism of the State and the disregard of the rights 
of the individual citizen and the foreigner. It was undermined 
by causes independent of Christianity. The amalgamation of 
different nationalities in the empire extinguished sectionalism 
and exclusivism, and opened the wide view of a universal 
humanity. Stoicism gaye this cosmopolitan sentiment a philo- 
sophical and ethical expression in the writings of Seneca, 
Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. Terence embodied it in his 
famous line : " Homo sum : humani nihil a me alienwn puto." 
But Christianity first taught the fatherhood of God, the re- 
demption by Christ, the common brotherhood of believers, the 
duty of charity for all men made in the image of God. It is 
true that monasticism, which began to develop itself already in 

1 See the prayer for rulers in the newly discovered portions of the Epistle 
of Clement of Rome, quoted in J 66, p. 228. 


the third century, nursed indifference to the state and even to 
the family, and substituted the total abandonment of the world 
for its reformation and transformation. It withdrew a vast 
amount of moral energy and enthusiasm from the city to the 
desert, and left Roman society to starvation and consumption. 
But it preserved and nursed in solitude the heroism of self- 
ienial and consecration, which, in the collapse of the Roman 
empire, became a converting power of the barbarian conquerors, 
and laid the foundation, for a new and better civilization. The 
decline and fall of the Roman empire was inevitable; Chris- 
tianity prolonged its life in the East, and diminished the catas- 
trophe of its collapse in the West, by converting and humanizing 
the barbarian conquerors. 1 St. Augustin pointed to the remark- 
able fact that amid the horrors of the sack of Rome by the 
Goth's, "the churches of the apostles and the crypts of the 
martyrs were sanctuaries for all who fled to them, whether 
Christian or pagan," and " saved the lives of multitudes who 
impute to Christ the ills that have befallen their city/' * 

97. The Church and Slavery. 

See Lit. vol. I. ? 48, p. 444, especially WALLON'S JSistoire de I'esclavage 
(Paris, new ed. 1879, 3 vols). Comp. also V. LECHXEB: Sldav&rei 
und Christenthum. Leipzig, 1877, 1878; THEOD. ZAHff: Sklaverri 
und Christenthum in der alten Welt. Heidelberg, 1879. OvEEBECK : 
Verb. d. alt&n Kirche zur Sclaverei im rom. JReiche. 1875. 

i Gibbon, ch. 36, admits this in part. "If the decline of the Eoman em- 
pire was hastened by the conversion of Constantine, the victorious religion 
broke the violence of the fall, and mollified the ferocious temper of the con- 
querors." Milman says of the Church: "If treacherous (?) to the interests 
of the Roman empire, it was true to those of mankind " (III. 48). Lecky (II. 
153) says : " It is impossible to deny that the Christian priesthood contributed 
materially both by their charity and by their arbitration, to mitigate the 
calamities that accompanied the dissolution of the empire; and it is equally 
impossible to doubt that their political attitude greatly increased their power 
for good. Standing between the conflicting forces, almost indifferent to the 
issue, and notoriously exempt from the passions of the combat, they obtained 
with the conqueror, and used for the benefit of the conquered, a degree of in- 
fluence they would never have possessed .had they been regarded as Eoman 

De Civ. Dei, I. c. 1 

348 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

Heathenism had no conception of the general and iiaturai 
rights of men. The ancient republics consisted in the exclusive 
dominion of a minority over an oppressed majority. The 
Greeks and Romans regarded only the free, i. e. the free-born 
rich and independent citizens as men in the full sense of the 
term, and denied this privilege to the foreigners, the laborers, 
the poor, and the slaves. They claimed the natural right to 
make war upon all foreign nations, without distinction of race, 
in order to subject them to their iron rule. Even with Cicero 
the foreigner and the enemy are synonymous terms. The 
barbarians were taken in thousands by the chance of war (above 
100,000 in the Jewish war alone) and sold as cheap as horses. 
Besides, an active slave-trade was carried on in the Euxiiie, the 
eastern provinces, the coast of Africa, and Britain. The greater 
part of mankind in the old Roman empire was reduced to a 
hopeless state of slavery, and to a half brutish level. And this 
evil of slavery was so thoroughly interwoven with the entire 
domestic and public life of the heathen world, and so deliber- 
ately regarded, even by the greatest philosophers, Aristotle for 
instance, as natural and indispensable, that the abolition of 
it, even if desirable, seemed to belong among the impossible 

Yet from the outset Christianity has labored for this end ; 
not by impairing the right of property, not by outward vio- 
lence, nor sudden revolution ; this, under the circumstances, " 
would only have made the evil worse ; but by its moral power, 
by preaching the divine descent and original unity of all men, 
't^eir common redemption through Christ, the duty of brotherly 
love, and the true freedom of the spirit. It placed slaves and 
masters on the same footing of dependence on God and of free- 
dom in God, the Father, Redeemer, and Judge of both. It 
conferred inward freedom even under outward bondage, and 
taught obedience to God and for the sake of God, even in the 
enjoyment of outward freedom. This moral and religious 
freedom must lead at last to the personal and civil liberty of 
the individual. Christianity redeems not only the soul but the 


body also, and the process of regeneration will end in the resur- 
rection and glorification of the entire natural world. 

In the period before us, however, the abolition of slavery, 
save in isolated cases of manumission, was utterly out of ques- 
tion, considering only the enormous number of the slaves. The 
world was far from ripe for such a step. The church, in her 
persecuted condition, had as yet no influence at all over the 
machinery of the state and the civil legislation. And she was 
at that time so absorbed in the transcendent importance of the 
higher world and in her longing for the speedy return of the 
Lord, that she cared little for earthly freedom or temporal 
happiness. Hence Ignatius, in his epistle to Polycarp, counsels 
servants to serve only the more zealously to the glory of the 
Lord, that they may receive from God the higher freedom ; and 
not to attempt to be redeemed at the expense of their Christian 
brethren, lest they be found slaves to their own caprice. From 
this we see that slaves, in whom faith awoke the sense of manly 
dignity and the desire of freedom, were accustomed to demand 
their redemption at the expense of the church, as a right, and 
were thus liable to value the earthly freedom more than the 
spiritual. Tertullian declares the outward freedom worthless 
without the ransom of the soul from the bondage of sin. 
" How can the world/' says he, " make a servant free? All is 
mere show in the world, nothing truth. For the slave is 
already free, as a purchase of Christ ; and the freedman is a 
servant of Christ. If thou takest the freedom which the world 
can give for true, thou hast thereby become again the servant 
of man, and hast lost the freedom of Christ, in that thou 
thinkest it bondage." Chrysostom, in the fourth century, was 
the first of the fathers to discuss the question of slavery at 
large in the spirit of the apostle Paul, and to recommend, 
though cautiously, a gradual emancipation. 

But the church before Constantine labored with great success 
to elevate the intellectual and moral condition of the slaves, to 
adjust inwardly the inequality between slaves and masters, as 
the first and efficient step towards the final outward abolition 

350 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

of the evil, and to influence the public opinion even of the 
heathens. Here the church was aided by a concurrent move- 
ment in philosophy and legislation. The cruel views of Cato, 
who advised to work the slaves, like beasts of burden, to death 
rather than allow them to become old and unprofitable, gave 
way to the milder and humane views of Seneca, Pliny, and 
Plutarch, who very nearly approach the apostolic teaching. To 
the influence of the later Stoic philosophy must be attrib- 
uted many improvements in the slave-code of imperial 
Rome. But the most important improvements were made from 
the triumph of Constantine to the reign of Justinian, under 
directly Christian influences, Constantine issued a law in 315, 
forbidding the branding of slaves on the face to prevent tne 
disfiguration of the figure of celestial beauty (i. e. the image of 
God). 1 He also facilitated emancipation, in an edict of 316, 
by requiring only a written document, signed by the master, 
instead of the previous ceremony in the presence of the prefect 
and his lictor. 

It is here to be considered, first of all, that Christianity spread 
freely among the slaves, except where they were so rude and 
degraded as to be insensible to all higher impressions. They 
were not rarely (as Origen observes) the instruments of the 
conversion of their masters, especially of the women, and chil- 
dren, whose training was frequently intrusted to them. Not a 
few slaves died martyrs, and were enrolled among the saints ; 
'as Onesimus, Eutyches, Victorinus, Maro, Nereus, Achilleus, 
Blandina, Potamiaena, Felicitas. Tradition fhakes Onesimus, 
the slave of Philemon, a bishop. The church of St. Vital at 
Ravenna the first and noblest specimen of Byzantine archi- 
tecture in Italy was dedicated by Justinian to the memory of 
a martyred slave. But the most remarkable instance is that 
of Callistus, who was originally a slave, and rose to the chair 
of St. Peter in Rome (218-223). Hippolytus, who acquaints 
us with his history, attacks his doctrinal and disciplinarian 

1 " Fades, qua ad simUitudinem pukhrttudinis est coelestis figurafa.'' Qod. Ji# 
IX 17,17, 


views, but does not reproach him for his former condition. 
Callistus sanctioned the marriages between free Christian women 
and Christian slaves. Celsus cast it up as a reproach to Chris- 
tianity, that it let itself down so readily to slaves, fools, women, 
and children. But Origen justly saw an excellence of the new 
religion in this very fact, th'at it could raise this despised and,, 
in the prevailing view, irreclaimable class of men to the level 
of moral purity and worth. If, then, converted slaves, with 
the full sense of their intellectual and religious superiority, still 
remained obedient to their heathen masters, and even served 
them more faithfully than before, resisting decidedly only their 
immoral demands (like Potarnisena, and other chaste women and 
virgins in the service of voluptuous masters) they showed, in 
this very self-control, the best proof of their ripeness for civil 
freedom, and at the same time furnished the fairest memorial of 
that Christian faith, which raised the soul, in the enjoyment of 
sonship with God and in the hope of the blessedness of heaven, 
above the sufferings of earth. Euelpistes, a slave of the im- 
perial household, who was carried with Justin Martyr to the 
tribunal of Rusticus, on being questioned concerning his con- 
dition, replied : " I am a slave of the emperor, but I am also a 
Christian, and have received liberty from Jesus Christ ; by his 
grace I have the same hope as my brethren." "Where the 
owners of the slaves themselves became Christians, the old rela- 
tion virtually ceased ; both came together to the table of the 
Lord, and felt themselves brethren of one family, in striking 
contrast with the condition of things among their heathen 
neighbors as expressed in the current proverb: "As many 
enemies as slaves." l Clement of Alexandria frequently urges 
that " slaves are men like ourselves," though he nowhere con- 
demns the institution itself. That there actually were such 

1 *' Totidem, esse hostes, guot servos" Seneca, Ep. 47. Prom the time of the 
Senile Wars the Komans lived in constant fear of slave conspiracies and in- 
surrections. The slaves formed nearly one half of the population, and in 
some agricultural districts, as in Sicily and Calabria, they were largely in the 

352 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

cases of fraternal fellowship, like that which St. Paul recom- 
mended to Philemon, we have the testimony of Lactantius, at 
the end of our period, who writes, in his Institutes, no doubt 
from life : " Should any say : Are there not also among you 
poor and rich, servants and masters, distinctions among indi- 
viduals ? No ; we call ourselves brethren for no other reason, 
than that we hold ourselves all equal. For since we measure 
everything human not by its outward appearance, but by its 
intrinsic value, we have, notwithstanding the difference of out- 
ward relations, no slaves, but we call them and consider them 
brethren in the Spirit and fellow-servants in religion." l The 
same writer says : " God would have all men equal. . . . With 
him there is neither servant nor master. If he is the same 
Father to all, we are all with the same right free. So no one 
is poor before God, but he who is destitute of righteousness ; no 
one rich, but he who is full of virtues/' 2 

The testimony of the catacombs, as contrasted with pagan 
epitaphs, shows that Christianity almost obliterated the distinc- 
tion between the two classes of society. Slaves are rarely men- 
tioned. " While it is impossible," says De Eossi, " to examine 
the pagan sepulchral inscriptions of the same period without 
finding mention of a slave or a freedman, I have not met with 
one well-ascertained instance among the inscriptions of the 
Christian tombs." s 

The principles of Christianity naturally prompt Christian 
slave-holders to actual manumission. The number of slave- 
holders before Constantine was very limited among Christians, 
who were mostly poor. Yet we read in the Acts of the mar- 

1 Lib. v. c. 15 (ed. Fritzsche. Lips. 1842, p. 257). 

3 Inst. v. 14 (p. 257) : "Deus enim, gui homines generat et insp*.rat, omnes aequos, 
id est pares esse voluit; eandem conditionem vivendi omnibus posuit; omnes ad 
mpientiam genuit; omnibus immortalitatem spopondit, nemo a beneficiis coelestibus 
segregatur. .... Nemo apud eum serous est, nemo dominus; si enim cwnctis idem 
Pater est, aeqwjure omnes liberi sumus." 

8 "Buttetino for 1866, p. 24. V. Schultze (Die KataJc&mben, p. 258) infers 
from the monuments that in the early Christian congregations slavery ws re- 
duced to a minimum. 


fcyrdom of the Eoman bishop Alexander, that a Roman pre- 
fect. Hennas, converted by that bishop, in the reign of Trajan, 
received baptism at an Easter festival with his wife and children 
and twelve hundred and fifty slaves, and on this occasion gave 
all his slaves their freedom and munificent gifts besides. 1 So in 
the martyrology of St. Sebastian, it is related that a wealthy 
Boman prefect, Chromatius, under Diocletian, on embracing 
Christianity, emancipated fourteen hundred slaves, after having 
them baptized with himself, because their sonship with God put 
an end to their servitude to man. 2 Several epitaphs in the 
catacombs mention the fact of manumission. In the beginning 
of the fourth century St. Cantius, Cantianus, and Cantianilla, 
of an old Human family, set all their slaves, seventy-three in 
number, at liberty, after they had received baptism. 3 St. 
Melania emancipated eight thousand slaves ; St. Ovidius, five 
thousand; Hermes, a prefect in the reign of Trajan, twelve 
hundred and fifty. 4 

These legendary traditions may indeed be doubted as to the 
exact facts in the case, and probably are greatly exaggerated ; 
but they are nevertheless conclusive as the exponents of the 
spirit which animated the church at that time concerning the 
duty of Christian masters. It was felt that in a thoroughly 
Christianized society there can be no room for despotism on the 
one hand and slavery on the other. 

After the third century the manumission became a solemn 
act, which took place in the presence of the clergy and the 
congregation. It was celebrated on church festivals, especially 
on Easter. The master led the slave to the altar; there the 
document of emancipation was read, the minister pronounced 
the blessing, and the congregation received him as a free brother 
with equal rights and privileges. Constantine found this cus- 
tom already established, and African councils of the fourth 

1 Acta Sanct. Boll. Maj. torn. i. p. 371. 
* Acfa Sanct. Ian. torn. iii. 275. 

3 Acta Sanct. Maj. torn. vi. 777. 

4 Champagny, Chariti chret, p. 210 (as quoted by Lecky, II. 74), 

Vol. 1123 

354 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

century requested the emperor to give it general force. He 
placed it under the superintendence of the clergy. 


H. WALLON, in his learned and able Histoire de Vesclavage dans PantiqutiS 
(second ed. Paris, 1879, 3 vols.), shows that the gospel in such passages as 
Matt. 23: 8; Gal. 3: 28; Col. 3: 11; 1 Cor. 12: 13 sounded the dtath knell 
of slavery, though it was very long in 'dying, and thus sums up ihe teaching 
of the ante-Nicene church (III. 237) : " Minutius Felix, Tertullien et tons ceux 
qui ont lent dans cette p&*wde ou Pfiglise a srwrtout soufert, invoquent de meme cette 
eommunautZ de nature, cette communaute' depcdrie dans la r&publique du mvnde, en 
un language familier d, la philosophic, mais qui frouvcvit parmi les Chretiens avec 
une sanction plus haute et un sens plus complet, une application plus $rieuse. 
Devant ce droit commun des hommes, fonde sur le droit divin, le pritendu droit des 
gens n'etafo plus qu' une monstrueuse injustice" For the views of the later 
fathers and the influence of the church on the imperial legislation, see ch. 
VIII. to X. in his third volume. 

LECKY discusses the relation of Christianity to slavery in the second vol. of 
his History of European Morals, pp. 66-90, and justly remarks : " The services 
of Christianity in this sphere were of three kinds. It supplied a new order 
of relations, in which the distinction of classes was unknown. " It imparted a 
moral dignity to the servile classes, and it gave an unexampled impetus to the 
movement of enfranchisement. 11 

98, The Heathen Family. 

In ancient Greece and Eome the state was the highest object 
of life, and the only virtues properly recognized wisdom, 
courage, moderation, and justice were political virtues. Aris- 
totle makes the state, that is the organized body of free citizens l 
(foreigners and slaves are excluded), precede the family and the 
individual, and calls man essentially a " political animal." In 
Plato's ideal commonwealth the state is everything and owns 
everything, even the children. 

This political absolutism destroys the proper dignity and 
rights of the individual and the family, and materially hinders 
the development of the domestic and private virtues. Marriage 
was allowed no moral character, but merely a political import 
for the preservation of the state, and could not be legally con- 
tracted except by free citizens. Socrates, in instructing his son 


concerning this institution, tells him, according to Xenophon, 
that we select only such wives as we hope will yield beautiful 
children. Plato recommends even community of women to the 
class of warriors in his ideal republic, as the best way to secure 
vigorous citizens. Lycurgus, for similar reasons, encouraged 
adultery under certain circumstances, requiring old men to lend 
their young and handsome wives to young and strong men. 

Woman was placed almost on the same level with the slave. 
She differs, indeed, from the slave, according to Aristotle, but 
has, after all, really no will of her own, and is hardly capable 
of a higher virtue than the slave. Shut up in a retired apart- 
ment of the house, she spent her life with the slaves. As 
human nature is essentially the same in all ages, and as it is 
never entirely forsaken by the guidance of a kind Providence, 
we must certainly suppose that female virtue was always more 
or less maintained and appreciated even among the heathen. 
Such characters as Penelope, Nausicaa, Andromache, Antigone, 
Iphigenia, and Diotima, of the Greek poetry and history, bear 
witness of this. Plutarch's advice to married people, and his 
letter of consolation to his wife after the death of their daughter, 
breathe a beautiful spirit of purity and affection. But the general 
position assigned to woman by the poets, philosophers, and legis- 
lators of antiquity, was one of social oppression and degradation. 
In Athens she was treated as a minor during lifetime, and could 
not inherit except in the absence of male heirs. To the ques- 
tion of Socrates : " Is there any one with whom you converse 
less than with the wife ? " his pupil, Aristobulus, replies : " No 
one, or at least very few." If she excelled occasionally, in 
Greece, by wit and culture, and, like Aspasia, Phryne, Lais, 
Theodota, attracted the admiration and courtship even of 
earnest philosophers like Socrates, and statesmen like Pericles, 
she generally belonged to the disreputable class of the hetwrce 
or arnica. In Corinth they were attached to the temple of 
Aphrodite, and enjoyed the sanction of religion for the practice 
of vice. 1 These dissolute women were esteemed above house- 

1 Their name traipat was an Attic euphonism for ndpvai. In the temple of 

356 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

wives, and became the proper and only representatives of some 
sort of female culture and social elegance. To live with them 
openly was no disgrace even for married men. 1 How could 
there be any proper conception and abhorrence of the sin of 
licentiousness and adultery, if the very gods, a Jnpiter, a Mars, 
and a Venus, were believed to be guilty of those sins I The 
worst vices of earth were transferred to Olympus. 

Modesty forbids the mention of a still more odious vice, 
which even depraved nature abhors, which yet was freely dis- 
cussed and praised by ancient poets and philosophers, practised 
with neither punishment nor dishonor, and likewise divinely 
sanctioned by the example of Apollo and Hercules, and by the 
lewdness of Jupiter with Ganymede. 2 

Aphrodite at Corinth more than a thousand hetarcB were employed as hierodvlce* 
snd were the ruin of foreigners (Strabo, YI1L 6, 20). JLopiv&ia Kop?/ was 
a synonym for hetcera, and expressive of the acme of voluptuousness. A 
full account of these hetcera and of the whole domestic life of the ancient 
Greeks may he found in Becker's Charides, translated by Metcalf, third ed. 
London, 1866. Becker says (p, 242), that in the period of the greatest refine- 
ment of classical Greece, " sensuality, if not the mother, was at all events the 
nurse of the Greek perception of the beautiful." Plato himself, even in his 
ideal state, despaired of restricting his citizens to the lawful intercourse of 

1 Aspasia bewitched Pericles by her beauty and genius ; and Socrates ac- 
knowledged his deep obligation to the instructions of a courtesan named 

8 Lecky (II. 311) derives this unnatural vice of Greece from the influence of 
the public games, which accustomed men to the contemplation of absolute nudity, 
and awoke unnatural passions. See the thirteenth book of Athenaeus, Grote 
on the Symposium of Plato, and the full account in Dollinger's Heidenthum und 
Judenthum, 1857, p. 684 sqq. He says: "ei den Griechen tritt das Laster der 
Pcederastie mit align, Symptomen einer grossen natwnalen J&ankheit, gleichsam eines 
zthischen Miasma auf; eszeigtsich alsein Gejuhl, das starker and hef tiger wirfae, als 
die Weiberliebe bei andern Volkem, masslos&Tj leidenschafilieher in seinen Aus- 

bruchen war In der ganeen Literatur der wrchristlichen Periode ist kaum 

ein SchriftsteUer aufinden, der sich entschieden dagegen erklart hatte. Vielmehr 
war die ganze Gesellschaft davon angestecktj und man athmete das Miasma, so w, 
sagen t mit der Luft ein" Even Socrates and Plato gave this morbid vice the 
sanction of their great authority, if not in practice, at least in theory. Comp. 
Xenophon's Mem. VIII. 2, Plato's Charmides, and his descriptions of Eros, 
and Dollinser, I c. p. 686 sq. Zeno, the founder of the austere sect of Stoics, 
was praised for the moderation with which Ke practiced this vice. 


The Romans were originally more virtuous, domestic, and 
chaste, as they were more honest and conscientious, than the 
Greeks. With them the wife was honored by the title domitia, 
matrona, materfamilias. At the head of their sacerdotal system 
stood the flamens of Jupiter, who represented marriage in its 
purity, and tho vestal virgins, who represented virginity. The 
Sabine women Interceding between their parents and their hus- 
bands, saved ,fche republic; the mother and the wife of 
Coriolanus by her prayers averted his wrath, and raised the 
siege of the Yolscian army ; Lucretia who voluntarily sacri- 
ficed her life to escape the outrage to her honor offered by king 
Tarquin, and Virginia who was killed by her father to save 
her from slavery and dishonor, shine in the legendary history 
of Eome as bright examples of unstained purity. But even in 
the best days of the republic the legal status of woman was 
very low. The Romans likewise made marriage altogether 
subservient to the interest of the state, and allowed it in its 
legal form to free citizens alone. The proud maxims of the 
republic prohibited even the legitimate nuptials of a Roman 
with a foreign queen; and Cleopatra and Berenice were, as 
strangers, degraded to the position of concubines of Mark 
Antony and Titus. According to ancient custom the husband 
bought his bride from her parents, and she fulfilled the coemp- 
tion by purchasing, with three pieces of copper, a just introduc- 
tion to his house and household deities. But this was for her 
^simply an exchange of one servitude for another. She became 
the living property of a husband who could lend her out, as 
Cato lent his wife to his friend Hortensius, and as Augustus 
took Livia from Tiberius Nero. "Her husband or master," 
says Gibbon, 1 "was invested with the plenitude of paternal 
power. By his judgment or caprice her behavior was approved 
or censured, or chastised; he exercised the jurisdiction of life 
and death; and it was allowed, that in cases of adultery or 
drunkenness, the sentence might be properly inflicted She 
acquired and inherited for the sole profit of her lord.; and so 
1 Chapter XLIV., where he discusses at length the Eoman code of laws. 

358 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

clearly was woman defined, not as a, person, but as a thing, that, 
if the original title were deficient, she might be claimed like 
other movables, by the use and possession of an entire year." 

Monogamy was the .rule both in Greece and in Rome, but did 
not exclude illegitimate connexions. Concubinage, in its proper 
legal sense, was a sort of secondary marriage with a woman of 
servile or plebeian extraction, standing below the dignity of a 
matron and above the infamy of a prostitute. It was sanc- 
tioned and regulated by law ; it prevailed both in the East and 
the West from the age of Augustus to the tenth century, and 
was preferred to regular marriage by Vespasian, and the two 
Antonines, the best Eoman emperors. Adultery was severely 
punished, at times even with sudden destruction of the offender; 
but simply as an interference with the rights and property of a 
free man. The wife had no legal or social protection against 
the infidelity of her husband. The Romans worshipped a 
peculiar goddess of domestic life ; but her name Viriplaea, the 
appeaser of husbands, indicates her partiality. The intercourse 
of a husband with the slaves of his household and with public 
prostitutes was excluded from the odium and punishment of 
adultery. We say nothing of that unnatural abomination 
alluded to in Rom. 1 : 26, 27, which seems to have passed from 
the Etruscans and Greeks to the Romans, and prevailed among 
the highest as well as the lowest classes. The women, how- 
ever, were almost as corrupt as their husbands, at least in the 
imperial age. Juvenal calls a chaste wife a "rara avis m 
terris" Under Augustus free-born daughters could no longer 
be found for the service of Vesta, and even the severest laws 
of Domitian could not prevent the six priestesses of the pure 
goddess from breaking their vow. The pantomimes and" the 
games of Flora, with their audacious indecencies, were favorite 
amusements. "The unblushing, undisguised obscenity of the 
Epigrams of Martial, of the Romances of Apuleius and 
Petronius, and of some of the Dialogues of Lucian, reflected 
but too faithfully the spirit of their times." l 
1 Lecky, II. 321. 


Divorce is said to have been almost unknown in the ancient 
days of the Eoman republic, and the marriage tie was regarded 
as indissoluble. A senator was censured for kissing his wife in 
the presence of their daughter. But the merit of this virtue is 
greatly diminished if we remember that the husband always 
had an easy outlet for his sensual passions in the intercourse 
with slaves and concubines. Nor did it outlast the republic. 
After the Punic war the increase of wealth and luxury, and the 
influx of Greek and Oriental licentiousness swept away the stern 
old Roman virtues. The customary civil and religious rites 
of marriage were gradually disused ; the open community of 
life between persons of similar rank was taken as sufficient evi- 
dence of their nuptials; and marriage, after Augustus, fell to 
the level of any partnership, which might be dissolved by the 
abdication of one of the associates. "Passion, interest, or 
caprice," says Gibbon on the imperial age, "suggested daily 
motives for the dissolution of marriage ; a word, a sign, a mes- 
sage, a letter, the mandate of a freedman, declared the separa- 
tion ; the most tender of human connections was degraded to a 
transient society of profit or pleasure." l 

1 Gibbon (ch. XLIV.) confirms the statement by several examples, to which 
more might be added. Maecenas, *' gui uxores mitties duxit" (Seneca, JBp. 114) 
was as notorious for his levity in forming and dissolving the nuptial tie, as 
famous for his patronage of literature and art. Martial (Epigr. VI. 7), though 
in evident poetical exaggeration, speaks of ten husbands in one month. 
Juvenal (Satir. VI. 229) exposes a matron, who in five years submitted to the 
embraces of eight husbands. Jerome (Ad Gerontiam) "saw at Rome a 
triumphant husband bury his twenty-first wife, who had interred twenty-two 
of his less sturdy predecessors.*' These are extreme cases, and hardly furnish 
* a sufficient basis for a general judgment of the state of society in Rome, 
much less in the provinces. We should not forget the noble and faithful 
Roman women even in the days of imperial corruption, as Mallonia, who pre- 
ferred suicide to the embraces of Tiberius ; Helvia, the mother of Seneca, and 
Taulina his wife, who opened her veins to-accompany him to the grave ; the 
elder Arria who, when her husband Psetus was condemned to death under 
Claudius (42), and hesitated to commit suicide, plunged the dagger in her 
breast, and, drawing it out, said to him with her dying breath : " My Psetus, 
It does not pain " (Paste, non dolet) ; and her worthy daughter, Caecinia Arria, 
the wife of Thrasea, who was condemned to death (66), and her grand- 
daughter Fannia, who accompanied her husband Helvidius Prisons twice into 

360 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

Various remedies were tardily adopted as the evil spread, but 
iliey proved inefficient, until the spirit of Christianity gained 
the control of public opinion and improved the Eoman legisla- 
tion, which, however, continued for a long time to fluctuate 
between the custom of heathenism and the wishes of the church, 

Another radical evil of heathen family life, which the church 
had to encounter throughout the whole extent of the Roman 
Empire, was the absolute tyrannical authority of the parent 
over the children, extending even to the power of life and death, 
and placing the adult son of a Roman citizen on a level with 
the movable things and slaves, " whom the capricious master 
might alienate or destroy, without being responsible to any 
earthly tribunal." 

With this was connected the unnatural and monstrous custom 
of exposing poor, sickly, and deformed children to a cruel death, 
or in many cases to a life of slavery and infamy a custom ex- 
pressly approved, for the public interest, even by a Plato, an 
Aristotle, and a Seneca ! " Monstrous offspring," says the great 
Stoic philosopher, "we destroy; children too, if born feeble and 
ill-formed, we drown. It is not wrath, but reason, thus to sepa- 
rate the useless from the healthy." " The exposition of chil- 
dren " to quote once more from Gibbon " was the prevailing 
and stubborn vice of antiquity: it was sometimes prescribed, 

banishment, and suffered a third for his sake after his execution (93). See 
Pliny, Epist. III. 16; Tacitus, Ann. XVI. 30-34; Friedlaender, I. 459 sqq. 
Nor should we overlook the monumental evidences of conjugal devotion and 
happiness in numerous Eoman epitaphs. See Friedlaender, I. 463. Yet 
sexual immorality reached perhaps its lowest depths in imperial Rome, far 
lower than in the worst periods of the dark ages, or in England under Charles 
II., or in France under Louis XIV. and XV. And it is also certain, as Lecky 
says (EL 326), "that frightful excesses of unnatural passion, of which the 
most corrupt of modern courts present no parallel, were perpetrated with but 
little concealment on the Palatine." Prenuptial unchastity of men was all 
but universal among the Romans, according to Cicero's testimony. Even 
Epictetus, the severest among the Stoic moralists, enjoins only moderation, 
not entire abstinence, from this form of vice. Lampridius relates of Alex- 
ander Severus, who otherwise legislated against vice, that he provided his 
unmarried provincial governors with a concubine as a part of their outfit, 
because "they coald not exist without one" (quod sine con<m&wm esse nw 


often permitted, almost always practised with impunity by the 
nations who never entertained the Eoman ideas of paternal 
power; and the dramatic poets, who appeal to the human heart, 
represent with indifference a popular custom which was palliated 
by the motives of economy and compassion. . . . The Eoman 
Empire was stained with the blood of infants, till such murders 
were included, by Valentinian and his colleagues, in the letter 
and spirit of the Cornelian law. The lessons of jurisprudence 
and Christianity had been insufficient to eradicate this inhuman 
practice, till their gentle influence was fortified by the terrors of 
capital punishment/' l 

99. The Christian Family. 

Such was the condition of the domestic life of the ancient 
world, when Christianity, with its doctrine of the sanctity of 
marriage, with its injunction of chastity, and with its elevation 
of woman from her half-slavish condition to moral dignity and 
'equality with man, began the work of a silent transformation, 
which secured incalculable blessings to generations yet unborn. 
It laid the foundation for a well-ordered family life. It turned 
the eye from the outward world to the inward sphere of affec- 
tion, from the all-absorbing business of politics and state-life 
into the sanctuary of home; and encouraged the nurture of those 
virtues of private life, without which no true public virtue can 
exist. But, as the evil here to be abated, particularly the degra- 
dation of the female sex and the want of chastity, was so deeply 
rooted and thoroughly interwoven in the whole life of the old 
world, this ennobling of the family, like the abolition of slavery, 
was necessarily a very slow process. "We cannot wonder, 
therefore, at the high estimate of celibacy, which in the eyes of 
many seemed to be the only radical escape from the impurity 
and misery of married life as it generally stood among the hea- 
then. But, although the fathers are much more frequent and 
enthusiastic in the praise of virginity than in tbat of marriage, 

1 Ch. XLIV. See a good chapter on the exposure of children in Brace, 
Gesta Chmti, p. 72-83. 

362 SECOND PEKIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

yet their views on this subject show an immense advance upon 
the moral standard of the greatest sages and legislators of Greece 
and Borne. 

CHASTITY hefore marriage, in wedlock, and in celibacy, in 
man as well as in woman, so rare in paganism, was raised to the 
dignity of a cardinal virtue and made the corner-stone of the 
family. Many a female martyr preferred cruel torture and 
death to the loss of honor. When St. Perpetua fell half dead 
from the horns of a wild bull in the arena, she instinctively 
drew together her dress, which had been torn in the assault. 
The acts of martyrs and saints tell marvellous stories, exagge- 
rated no doubt, yet expressive of the ruling Christian sentiment, 
about heroic resistance to carnal temptation, the sudden punish- 
ment of unjust charges of impurity by demoniacal possession or 
instant death, the rescue of courtesans from a life of shame and 
their radical conversion and elevation even to canonical sanctity. 1 
The ancient councils deal much with carnal sins so fearfully 
prevalent, and unanimously condemn them in every shape and 
form. It is true, chastity in the early church and by the unani- 
mous consent of the fathers was almost identified with celibacy, 
as we shall see hereafter ; but this excess should not blind us to 
the immense advance of patristic over heathen morals. 

WOMAN was emancipated, in the best sense of the term, from 
the bondage of social oppression, and made the life and light of 
a Christian home. Such pure and hert>ic virgins as the mar- 
tyred Blandina, and Perpetua, and such devoted mothers as 
Nonna, Anthusa, and Monica, we seek in vain among the ancient 
Greek and Eoman maidens and matrons, and we need not won- 
der that the heathen Libanius, judging from such examples as 

1 Among the converted courtesans of the ancient church in the Roman 
calendar are St. Mary Magdalene, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Afra, St. Pelagia, 
St. Thais, and St. Theodota. See Charles de Bussy, Les Courtisanes saintes. 
St. Vitalius, it is said, visited dens of vice every night, gave money to the in- 
mates to keep them from sin, and offered up prayers for their conversion. A 
curious story is told of St. Serapion, who went to such a place by appoint 
ment, and prayed and prayed and prayed till the unfortunate courtesar was 
converted and fell half dead at his feet. See Lecky, II. 338. 


the mother of his pupil Chrysostom, reluctantly exclaimed: 
" What women have these Christians I" The schoolmen of the 
middle ages derived from the formation of woman an ingenious 
argument for her proper position : Eve was not taken from the 
feet of Adam to be his slave, nor from his head to be his ruler, 
but from his side to be his beloved partner. 1 

At the same time here also we must admit that the ancient 
church was yet far behind the ideal set up in the New Testa- 
ment, and counterbalanced the elevation of woman by an extra- 
vagant over-estimate of celibacy. It was the virgin far more 
than the faithful wife and mother of children that was praised 
and glorified by the fathers ; and among the canonized saints of 
the Catholic calendar there is little or no room for husbands and 
wives, although the patriarchs, Moses, and some of the greatest 
prophets (Isaiah, Ezekiel), and apostles (Peter taking the lead) 
lived in honorable wedlock. 

MAEBIAGE was regarded in the church from the beginning 
as a sacred union of body and soul for the propagation of civil 
society, and the kingdom of God, for the exercise of virtue and 
the promotion of happiness. It was clothed with a sacramental 
or semi-sacramental character on the basis of Paul's comparison 
of the marriage union with the relation of Christ to his church. 2 

1 This beautiful idea (often attributed to Matthew Henry, the commentator) 
was first suggjsted by Augustin. De Genesi ad Literam, 1. IX. c. 13 ^in Migne's 
ed. of Opera, III. col. 402), and fully stated by Peter the Lombard, Sentent. 1. 
II. Dist. XVIII. (deformatione mulieris) : " Mulier de viro, non de qualibet parte 
corporis viri, sed de latere eius formata est, ut ostenderetur quia in consortium 
creabatur dilectionis, ne forte si faisset de eapite facia, viro ad dominationem vide- 
retur prefcrenda; aut si de pedibus, ad servitutem svbjicienda. Qnia igitur 
viro nee domina, nee ancitta parabatur, sed socia, nee capite, nee de pedibus, sed de 
latere fuwjLt producenda, utjuxta se ponendam cognosceret quam de suo latere sump- 
tarn didicisset." And again by Thomas Aquinas Summa Theol Pars. 1. 
Quacst. XCIT, Art. III. (in Migne's ed. I. col. 1231). 

2 Eph. 5 : 28-32. The Vulgate translates rb fivar^ptov in ver. 32 by sacra- 
mentomij an<i thus furnished a quasi-exegetical foundation to the Catholic doc- 
trine of the sacrament of marriage. The passage is so used by the Council of 
Trent and in the Roman Catechism. Ellicott (in he.} judges that " the words 
cannot possibly be urged in favor of the sacramental nature of marriage, but 
that the very fact of the comparison does place marriage on a far holier and 
higher basis than modern theories are disposed to admit." Bengel refers "the 

364 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

It was in its nature indissoluble except in case of adultery, and 
this crime was charged not only to the woman, but to the man 
as even the more guilty party, and to every extra-connubial car- 
nal connection. Thus the wife was equally protected against 
the wrongs of the husband, and chastity was made the general 
law of the family life. 

"We have a few descriptions of Christian homes from the 
ante-Mcene age, one from an eminent Greek father, another 
from a married presbyter of the Latin church. 

Clement of Alexandria enjoins upon Christian married per- 
sons united prayer and reading of the Scriptures, 1 as a daily 
morning exercise, and very beautifully says : " The mother is 
the glory of her children, the wife is the glory of her husband, 
both are the glory of the wife, God is the glory of all together." ' 

Tertullian, at the close of the book which he wrote to his wife, 
draws the following graphic picture, which, though somewhat 
idealized, could be produced only from the moral spirit of the 
gospel and actual experience : 3 "How can I paint the happiness 
of a marriage which the church ratifies, the oblation (the cele- 
bration of the communion) confirms, the benediction seals, angels 
announce, the Father declares valid. Even upon earth, indeed, 
sons do not legitimately marry without the consent of their 
fathers. What a union of two believers one hope, one vow, 
one discipline, and one worship ! They are brother and sister, 
two fellow-servants, one spirit and one flesh. Where there is 
one flesh, there is also one spirit. They pray together, fast to- 
gether, instruct, exhort, and support each other. They go 
together to the church of God, and to the table of the Lord. 
They share each other's tribulation, persecution, and revival. 
Neither conceals anything from the other ; neither avoids, nei- 
ther annoys the other. They delight to visit the sick, supply 

mystery" not to marriage, but to the union of Christ with the church ("non 
matrimonium humanum sed ipsa conjunct Christi et ecclesice"). Meyer refers it 
to the preceding quotation from Genesis ; Estius and Ellicott to the intimate 
conjugal relationship. 

l avdyvuw 2 P<B<%. Ill 250. 8 Ad Uxor&m, 1. II. c. 8. 


the needy, give alms without constraint, and in daily zeal lay 
their offerings before the altar without scruple or hindrance. 
They do not need to keep the sign of the cross hidden, nor to 
express slyly their Christian joy, nor to suppress the blessing. 
Psalms and hymns they sing together, and they vie with each 
other in singing to God. Christ rejoices when he sees and hears 
this. He gives them his peace. Where two are together in his 
name, there is he ; and where he is, there the evil one cannot 

A large sarcophagus represents a scene of family worship : on 
the right, four men, with rolls in their hands, reading or sing- 
ing ; on the left, three women and a girl playing a lyre. 

For the conclusion of a marriage, Ignatius 1 required "the 
consent of the bishop, that it might be a marriage for God, and 
not for pleasure. All should be done to the glory of God." In 
Tertullian's time, 2 as may be inferred from the passage just 
quoted, the solemnization of marriage was already at least a re- 
ligious act, though not a proper sacrament, and was sealed by 
the celebration of the holy communion in presence of the con- 
gregation. The Montanists were disposed even to make this 
benediction of the church necessary to the validity of marriage 
among Christians. All noisy and wanton Jewish and heathen 
nuptial ceremonies, and at first also the crowning of the bride, 
were discarded ; but the nuptial ring, as a symbol of union, was 

In the catacombs the marriage ceremony is frequently repre- 
sented by the man and the woman standing side by side and 
joining hands in token of close union, as also on heathen docu- 
ments. On a gilded glass of the fourth century, the couple 
join hands over a small nuptial altar, and around the figures are 
inscribed the words (of the priest) : "May ye live in God." 3 

1 Ad Polye. c. 5. In the Syr. version, c. 2. 

* Tert. Ad Uxor. II. 8 ; comp. De Mowg. c. 11 ; De Pudic. c. 4. 

s Vivatis in Deo- See the picture in Northcote and Brownlow, II. 303. In 
other and later pictures the ceremony is presided over by Christ, who either 
crowns the married couple, or is represented bj his monogram. Ibid. p. 302. 

366 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

MIXED MARRIAGES with heathens, and also with heretics, 
were unanimously condemned by the voice of the church in 
agreement with the Mosaic legislation, unless formed before 
conversion, in which case they were considered valid. 1 Tertul- 
lian even classes such marriages with adultery. What heathen, 
asks he, will let his wife attend the nightly meetings of the 
church, and the slandered supper of the Lord, take care of the 
sick even in the poorest hovels, kiss the chains of the martyrs 
in prison, rise in the night for prayer, and show hospitality to 
strange brethren ? Cyprian calls marriage with an unbeliever 
a prostitution of the members of Christ. The Council of Elvira 
in Spain (306) forbade such mixed marriages on pain of excom- 
munication, but did not dissolve those already existing. We 
shall understand this strictness, if, to say nothing of the heathen 
marriage rites, and the wretchedly loose notions on chastity and 
conjugal fidelity, we consider the condition of those times, and 
the offences and temptations which met the Christian in the 
constant sight of images of the household ^gods, mythological 
pictures on the walls, the floor, and the furniture ; in the liba- 
tions at table ; in short, at every step and turn in a pagan house. 

SECOND MARRIAGE. From the high view of marriage, and 
also from an ascetic over-estimate of celibacy, arose a very pre- 
valent aversion to re-marriage, particularly of widows. The 
Shepherd' of Hennas allows this reunion indeed, but with the 
reservation, that continuance in single life earns great honor 
with the Lord. Athenagoras goes so far as to call the second 
marriage a "decent adultery." 2 

The Montanists and Novatians condemned re-marriage, and 
made it a subject of discipline. 

1 According to 1 Cor. 7 : 12, 16. 

2 Legat. 33 : '0 devTepog y&po$ evwpeirifc kori jBo^fte. According to Origen, 
digamists may be saved, but will not be crowned by Christ (Horn. XVII. in 
IMC.). Theophilus, Ad Autol. III. 15, nays that with the Christians eyKpfceta 
doKtlTcu, ftovo-yafjia TTipelrcu. Perhaps even Irenseus held a similar view, to 
judge from the manner in which he speaks of the woman of Samaria (John 
4 : 7), " quos in uno viro non mansit, sed fornieata est in mvltis muptiis." Adu 
Boer. III. 17, ? 2. 


Tertullian came forward with the greatest decision, as advo- 
cate of monogamy against both successive and simultaneous 
polygamy. 1 He thought thus to occupy the true middle ground 
between the ascetic Gnostics, who rejected marriage altogether, 
and the Catholics, who allowed more than one. 2 In the earlier 
period of his life, when he drew the above picture of Christian 
marriage, before his adoption of Montanism, he already placed 
a high estimate on celibacy as a superior grade of Christian ho- 
liness, appealing to 1 Cor. 7 : 9, and advised at least his wife, in 
case of his death, not to marry again, especially with a heathen ; 
but in his Montanistic writings, " De Exhortations Castitatis" 
and " De Monogamia" he repudiates second marriage from 
principle, and with fanatical zeal contends against it as unchris- 
tian, as an act of polygamy, nay of "stuprum" and " ' adulterium" 
He opposes it with" all sorts of acute argument; now, on the 
ground of an ideal conception of marriage as a spiritual union 
of two souls for time and eternity; now, from an opposite sen- 
suous view; and again, on principles equally good against all 
marriage and in favor of celibacy. Thus, on the one hand, he 
argues, that the second marriage impairs the spiritual fellowship 
with the former partner, which should continue beyond the 
grave, which should show itself in daily intercessions and in 
yearly celebration of the day of death, and which hopes even 
for outward re-union after the resurrection. 3 On the other hand, 
however, he places the essence of marriage in the communion of 
flesh, 4 and regards it as a mere concession, which God makes to 

1 Comp. Hauber : Tertuttian's Rampf gegen die zweite Ehe, in the " Studien 
und Kritiken" for 1845, p. 607 sqq. 

2 De Monog. 1 : "Hoeretid nuptias auferunt, psychici ingerunt; itti nee semel, 

8 De Exhort Cast. e. 11 : '* Duplex rubor est, guia in secundo mafyimonw duce 
mores eundem circumstant maritum t una spiritu, alia in carne. Neque enim pristi- 
nam, poteris odisse, cui etia/m religiosiorem reservas affectionem ut jam receptce apud 
Dominum, pro cujus spiritu postulas, pro qua oblationes annuas reddis. Sfabis 
ergo ad Dominum cum tot uxoribus guot in oratione commemoras, et offeres pro 
tuttbus" etc. 

' 4 De Exhort Oast. c. 9 : '* Leges videntur matrimonii et stupri differentiamfacere, 
per diverwtatem illiciti, wn per conditionem rei ipsius .... Nuptws ipscs ex 69 

368 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

our sensuality, and which man therefore should not abuse by 
repetition. The ideal of the Christian life, with him, not only 
for the clergy, but the laity also, is celibacy. He lacks clear 
perception of the harmony of the moral and physical elements 
which constitutes the essence of marriage] and strongly as he 
elsewhere combats the Gnostic dualism, he here falls in with it 
in his depreciation of matter and corporeity, as necessarily in- 
compatible with spirit. His treatment of the exegetical argu- 
ments of the defenders of second marriage is remarkable. The 
levirate law, he says, is peculiar to the Old Testament economy. 
To Bom. 7 : 2 he replies, that Paul speaks here from the posi- 
tion of the Mosaic law, which, according to the same passage, is 
no longer binding on Christians. In 1 Cor. ch. 7, the apostle 
allows second marriage only in his subjective, human judgment, 
and from regard to our sensuous infirmity; but in the same 
chapter (ver. 40) he recommends celibacy to all, and that on the 
authority of the Lord, adding here, that he also has the Holy 
Spirit, i. e. the principle, which is active in the new prophets of 
Montanism. The appeal to 1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1 : 6, from which 
the right of laymen to second marriage was inferred, as the pro- 
hibition of it there related only to the clergy, he met with the 
doctrine of the universal priesthood of believers, which admitted 
them all both to the privileges and to the obligations of priests. 
But his reasoning always amounts in the end to this : that the 
state of original virgin purity, which has nothing at all to do 
with the sensual, is the best. The true chastity consists, there- 
fore, not in the chaste spirit of married partners, but in the entire 
continence of "virgines" and " spadones" The desire of pos- 
terity, he, contrary to the Old Testament, considers unworthy 
of a Christian, who, in fact, ought to break away entirely from 
the world, and renounce all inheritance in it. Such a morality, 
forbidding the same that it allows, and rigorously setting as an 
ideal what it must in reality abate at least for the mass of man- 
kind, may be very far above the heathen level, but is still plainly 
foreign to the deeper substance and the world-sanctifying prin- 
ciple of Christianity. " 


The Catholic church, indeed, kept aloof from this Montanistic 
extravagance, and forbade second marriage only to the clergy 
(which the Greek church does to this day) ; yet she rather ad- 
vised against it, and leaned very decidedly towards a preference 
for celibacy, as a higher grade of Christian morality. 1 

As to the relation of PARENTS and CHILDREN, Christianity 
exerted from the beginning a most salutary influence. It re- 
strained the tyrannical power of the father. It taught the eter- 
nal value of children as heirs of the kingdom of heaven, and 
commenced the great work of education on a religious and moral 
basis. It resisted with all energy the exposition of children, 
who were then generally devoured by dogs and wild beasts, or, 
if found, trained up for slavery or doomed to a life of infamy. 
Several apologists, the author to the Epistle of Diognetus, Jus- 
tin Martyr, 2 Minutius Felix, Tertullian, and Arnobius speak 
with just indignation against this unnatural custom. Athena- 
goras declares abortion and exposure to be equal to' murder. 3 
No heathen philosopher had advanced so far. Lactaatius also 
puts exposure on a par with murder even of the worst kind, 
and admits no excuse on the ground of pity or poverty, since 
God provides for all his creatures.* The Christian spirit of 

1 " Nbn prohibemus secundas nuptias" says Ambrose, '* sed non sitademus." 
None of the fathers recommends re-marriage or even approves of it. Jerome 
represented the prevailing view of the Nieene age. He took the lowest view 
of marriage as a mere safeguard against fornication and adultery, and could 
conceive of no other motive for second or third marriage but animal passion. 
" The first Adam," he says, " had one wife ; the second Adam had no wife. 
Those who approve of digamy hold forth a third Adam, who was twice mar- 
ried, whom they follow" (Contra Jwin. 1). Gregory of Nazianzum infers 
from the analogy of marriage to the union of Christ with his church that 
second marriage is to be reproved, as there is but one Christ and one church 
(Orat. XXXI). 

2 Apol. I. 27 and 29. 3 Apol. c. 35. 

* Inst. Div. vi. 20 (p. 48 ed. Lips.) : "Let no one imagine that even this is 
allowed, to strangle newly-born children, which is the greatest impiety ; for 
God breathes into their souls for life, and not for death. But men (that there 
may be no crime with which they may not pollute their hands) deprive souls 
as yet innocent and simple of the light which they themselves have not given. 
Can they be considered innocent who expose their own offspring & a prey to 
dogs, and as far as it depends upon themselves, kill them in a more cruel 
Vol, II. 24 

370 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

humanity gradually so penetrated the spirit of the age that 
the better emperors, from the time of Trajan, began to direct 
their attention to the diminution of these crying evils ; but the 
best legal enactments would never have been able to eradicate 
them without the spiritual influence of the church. The insti-, 
tutions and donations of Trajan, Antonius Pius, Septimius Se- 
verus, and private persons, for the education of poor children, 
boys and girls, were approaches of the nobler heathen towards 
the genius of Christianity. Constantine proclaimed a law in 315 
throughout Italy "to turn parents from using a parricidal hand 
on their new-born children, and to dispose their hearts to the 
best sentiments." The Christian fathers, councils, emperors, and 
lawgivers united their efforts to uproot this monstrous evil and 
to banish it from the civilized world. 1 

100, Brotherly Love, and Love for Enemies. 

SCHATJBACH : Das Verhaltniss der Moral des classischen Alt&rthums zur 
christlichen, beleuchtet duroh v&rgleichende Erorterung der Lehre von 
der Feindestiebe, in the "Studien und Kritiken" for 1851, p. 59-121. 

Also the works of SCHMIDT, CHASTEL, UBXHOEN, etc., quoted at \ 88. 

IT is generally admitted, that selfishness was the soul of hea- 
then morality. The great men of antiquity rose above its sor- 
did forms, love of gain and love of pleasure, but were the more 

manner than if they had strangled them ? Who can douht that he is impious 
who gives occasion for the pity of others? For, although that which he has 
wished should befall the child namely, that it should be brought up he has 
certainly consigned his own offspring either to servitude or to the brothel? 
But who does not understand, who is ignorant what things may happen, or are 
accustomed to happen, in the case of each sex, even through error ? For this 
is shown by the example of GEdipus alone, confused with twofold guilt. It is 
therefore as wicked to expose as it is to kill. But truly parricides complain 
of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for 
bringing up more children; as though, in truth, their means were in the 
power of those who possess them, or God did not daily make the rich poor, 
and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on account of poverty shall be 
unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from marriage than with 
wicked hands to mar the work of God." 

1 For further details see Brace, 1. c. 79 sqq., and Terme et Monfalcon, J3wt 
des enfants trowoes. Paris, 184.0. 


under the power of ambition and love of fame. It was for fame 
that Miltiades and Themistocles fought against the Persians; 
that Alexander set out on his tour of conquest ; that Herodotus 
wrote his history, that Pindar sang his odes, that Sophocles 
composed his tragedies, that Demosthenes delivered his orations, 
that Phidias sculptured his Zeus. Fame was set forth in the 
Olympian games as the highest object of life ; fame was held up 
by jEschylus as the last comfort of the suffering ; fame was de- 
clared by Cicero, before a large assembly, the ruling passion of 
the very best of men. 1 Even the much-lauded patriotism of the 
heroes of ancient Greece and Rome was only an enlarged ego- 
tism. In the catalogue of classical virtues we look in vain for 
the two fundamental and cardinal virtues, love and humility. 
The very word which corresponds in Greek to humility 2 signi- 
fies generally, in classical jisage, a mean, abject mind. The no- 
blest and purest form of love known to the heathen moralist is 
friendship, which Cicero praises as the highest good next to 
wisdom. But friendship itself rested, as was freely admitted, 
on a utilitarian, that is, on an egotistic basis, and was only pos- 
sible among persons of equal or similar rank in society. For 
the stranger, the barbarian, and the enemy, the Greek and Ro- 
man knew no love, but only contempt and hatred. The jus 
talionis, the return of evil for evil, was universally acknowledged 
throughout the heathen world as a just principle and maxim, in 
direct opposition to the plainest injunctions of the New Testa- 
ment. 3 "We must offend those who offend us, says JEschylus. 4 
Not to take revenge was regarded as a sign of weakness and 
cowardice. To return evil for good is devilish ; to return good 
for good is human and common to all religions ; to return good 

1 Pro Archia poeta, c. 11 : " Frahimur omnes laudis studio, et optimus quisque 
maxime gloria dueitur" 

2 TaTTEtvde, TaTreivdQpuv, raTmvdrtff, TOKeivofypoobvi). 

3 Matt, 5 : 23, 24, 44 ; 6 : 12 ; 18 : 21. Rom. 12 : 17, 19, 20. 1 Cor. 13 : 7. 
IThess. 5: 15. lPet.3: 9. 

4 Prom. Vinct. y. 1005, comp. 1040. Many passages of similar import from 
Homer, Hesiod, Sophocles, Euripides, etc., see quoted on p. 81 sqq.. of the 
Article of Schaubach referred to above, 

372 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

for evil is Christlike and divine, and only possible in the Chris* 
tian religion. 

On the other hand, however, we should suppose that every 
Christian virtue must find some basis in the noblest moral in- 
stincts and aspirations of nature; since Christianity is not against 
nature, but simply above it and intended for it. Thus we may 
regard the liberality, benevolence, humanity and magnanimity 
which we meet with in heathen antiquity, as an approximation 
to, and preparation for, the Christian virtue of charity. The 
better schools of moralists rose more or less above the popular 
approval of hatred of the enemy, wrath and revenge. Aristotle 
and the Peripatetics, without condemning this passion as wrong 
in itself, enjoined at least moderation in its exercise. The Stoics 
went further, and required complete apathy or suppression of all 
strong and passionate affections. Cicero even declares placability 
and clemency one of the noblest traits in the character of a great 
man, 1 and praises Csesar for forgetting nothing except injuries. 
Seneca, Epictetus, Plutarch, and Marcus Aurelius, who were 
already indirectly and unconsciously under the influence of the 
atmosphere of Christian morality, decidedly condemn anger and 
vindictiveness, and recommend kindness to slaves, and a gene- 
rous treatment even of enemies. 

But this sort of love for an enemy, it should be remembered, 
in the first place, does not flow naturally from the spirit of hea- 
thenism, but is, as it were, an accident and exception ; secondly, 
it is not enjoined as a general duty, but expected only from the 
great and the wise; thirdly, it does not rise above the conception 
of magnanimity, which, more closely considered, is itself con- 
nected with a refined form of egotism, and with a noble pride 
that regards it below the dignity of a gentleman to notice the 
malice of inferior men; 3 fourthly, it is commended only in its 

1 De Offic. I. 25 : *' Nildl enim laudabttius, nihil magno et prcedaro viro dignius 
placabttitate et dementia" 

*Comp. Seneca, De ira IT. 32: "Magni animi est injurias despicere. Ille 
magnus et twbilis est, qui more magnoe feres lattratus miwtorwm canum secwn/a 


negative aspect as refraining from the right of retaliation, not as 
active benevolence and charity to the enemy, which returns good 
for evil; and finally, it is nowhere derived from a religious 
principle, the love of God to man, and therefore has no proper 
root, and lacks the animating soul. 

No wonder, then, that in spite of the finest maxims of a few 
philosophers, the imperial age was controlled by the coldest sel- 
fishness, so that, according to the testimony of Plutarch, friend- 
ship had died out even in families, and the love of brothers and 
sisters was supposed to be possible only in a heroic age long 
passed by. The old Roman world was a world without charity. 
Julian the Apostate, who was educated a Christian, tried to 
engraft charity upon heathenism, but in vain. The idea of the 
infinite value of each human soul, even the poorest and hum- 
blest, was wanting, and with it the basis for true charity. 

It was in such an age of universal egotism that Christianity 
first revealed the true spirit of love to man as flowing from the 
love of God, and exhibited it in actual life. This cardinal vir- 
tue we meet first within the Church itself, as the bond of union 
among believers, and the sure mark of the genuine disciple of 
Jesus. " That especially," says Tertullian to the heathen, hi a 
celebrated passage of his Apologeticus, "which love works among 
us, exposes us to many a suspicion. c Behold/ they say, ' how 
they love one another!' Yea, verily this must strike them \ for 
they hate each other. ' And how ready they are to die for one 
another!' Yea, truly ; for they are rather ready to kill one an- 
other. And even that we call each other { brethren/ seems to 
them suspicious for no other reason, than that, among them, all 
expressions of kindred are only feigned. We are even your 
brethren, in virtue of the common nature, which is the mother 
of us all ; though ye, as evil brethren, deny your human nature. 
But how much more justly are those called and considered 
brethren, who acknowledge the one God as their Father ; wha 
have received the one Spirit of holiness; who have awaked from 
the same darkness of uncertainty to the light of the same truth ? 
. . . And we, who are united in spirit and in soul, do not hesi- 

374 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

tate to have also all things common, except wives. For we 
break fellowship just where other men practice it." 

This brotherly love flowed from community of life in Christ. 
Hence Ignatius calls believers "Christ-bearers" and "God- 
bearers." 1 The article of the Apostles' Creed: "I believe in 
the communion of saints;" the current appellation of "brother" 
and "sister;" and the fraternal kiss usual on admission into the 
church, and at the Lord's Supper, were not empty forms, nor 
even a sickly sentimentalism, but the expression of true feeling 
and experience, only strengthened by the common danger and 
persecution. A travelling Christian, of whatever language or 
country, with a letter of recommendation from his bishop, 2 was 
everywhere hospitably received as a long known friend. It was 
a current phrase : In thy' brother thou hast seen the Lord him- 
self. The force of love reached beyond the grave. Families 
were accustomed to celebrate at appointed times the memory of 
their departed members; and this was one of the grounds on 
which Tertullian opposed second marriage. 

The brotherly love expressed itself, above all, in the most 
self-sacrificing beneficence to the poor and sick, to widows and 
orphans, to strangers and prisoners, particularly to confessors in 
bonds. It magnifies this virtue in our view, to reflect, that the 
Christians at that time belonged mostly to the lower classes, and 
in times of persecution often* lost all their possessions. Every 
congregation was a charitable society, and in its public worship 
took regular collections for its needy members. The offerings at 
the communion and love-feasts, first held on the evening, after- 
wards on the morning of the Lord's Day, were considered a part 
of worship. 3 To these were added numberless private charities, 
given in secret, which eternity alone will reveal. The church at 
Rome had under its care a great multitude of widows, orphans, 

* TpdpftaTa TSTvrruph'a or KQwuvtKd) epistofa or Kterce formates ; so called, 
because composed after a certain riirog or forma, to guard against frequeDl 

* Oomp. James 1 : 27, HeLr. 13: 1-3, 16. 


blind, lame, and sick, 1 whom the deacon.Laurentius, in the De- 
cian persecution, showed to the heathen prefect, as the most pre- 
cious treasures of the church. It belonged to the idea of a 
Christian housewife, and was particularly the duty of the dea- 
conesses, to visit the Lord, to clothe him, and give him meat and 
drink, in the persons of his needy disciples. Even such oppo- 
nents of Christianity as Lucian testify to this zeal of the Chris- 
tians in labors of love, though they see in it nothing but an 
innocent fanaticism. "It is incredible/' says Lucian, "to see 
the ardor with which the people of that religion help each other 
in their wants. They spare nothing. Their first legislator has 
put into their heads that they are all brethren." 2 

This beneficence reached beyond the immediate neighborhood. 
Charity begins at home, but does not stay at home. In cases 
of general distress the bishops appointed special collections, and 
also fasts, by which food might be saved for suffering brethren. 
The Eoman church sent its charities great distances abroad. 3 
Cyprian of Carthage, who, after his conversion, sold his own 
estates for the benefit of the poor, collected a hundred thousand 
sestertia, or more than three thousand dollars, to redeem Chris- 
tians of Numidia, who had been taken captive by neighboring 
barbarians; and he considered it a high privilege "to be able to 
ransom for a small sum of money Trim, who has redeemed us 
from the dominion of Satan with his own blood." A father, 
who refused to give alms on account of his children, Cyprian 
charged with the additional sin of binding his children to an 
earthly inheritance, instead of pointing them to the richest and 
most loving Father in heaven. 

Finally, this brotherly love expanded to love even for ene- 
mies, which returned the heathens good for evil, and not rarely, 
in persecutions and public misfortunes, heaped coals of fire on 
their heads. During the persecution under Gallus (252), when 
the pestilence raged in Carthage, and the heathens threw out 
their dead and sick upon the streets, ran away from them foi 

1 Cornelius, in Euseb. H. E. VI. 43. 2 De Morte Peregr. c. 13, 

Dionysius of Corinth, in Eus. IV. 23. 

376 SECOND PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311 

fear of the contagion, and cursed the Christians as the supposed 
authors of the plague, Cyprian assembled his congregation, and 
exhorted them to love their enemies; whereupon all went to 
work; the rich with their money, the,jpoor with their hands, 
and rested not, till the dead were buried, the sick cared for, and 
the ciiy saved from desolation. The same self-denial appeared 
in the Christians of Alexandria during a ravaging plague under 
the reign of Gallienus. These are only a few prominent mani- 
festations *of a spirit which may be traced through the whole 
history of martyrdom and the daily prayers of the Christians for 
their enemies and persecutors. For while the love of friends, 
says Tertullian, is common to all men, the love of enemies is a 
virtue peculiar to Christians. 1 "You forget," he says to the 
heathens in his Apology, "that, notwithstanding your persecu- 
tions, far from conspiring against you, as our numbers would 
perhaps furnish us with the means of doing, we pray for you 
and do good to you ; that, if we give nothing for your gods, we 
do give for your poor, and that our charity spreads more alms 
in your streets than the offerings presented by your religion in 
your temples." 

The organized congregational charity of the ante-Nicene age 
provided for all the immediate wants. When the state professed 
Christianity, there sprang up permanent charitable institutions 
for the poor, the sick, for strangers, widows, orphans, and help- 
less old men. 2 The first clear proof of such institutions we find 
in the age of Julian the Apostate, who tried to check the pro- 
gress of Christianity and to revive paganism by directing the 
high priest of Galatia, Arsacius, to establish in every town a 
Xenodochium to be supported by the state and also by private 
contributions; for, he said, it was a shame that the heathen 


* Ad Smputam, c. 1 : " Ita enim disciplina jubemur dilig&re inimicos quoque el 
orare pro iis qui nos persequuntur, vt haec sit perfecta et propria bonitas nostra, 
non communis. Arnicas enim dilig&re omnium est t inimicos autem solorum, Chris* 
tianorum.'* ' 

* Nosocomia, Ptochotrophia, Xenodochia, Cherotrophia, Orphanotrophia 
Brephotrophia, Gerontocomia (for old menl 


the general custom of surrounding the funeral with solemn rites 
and prayers, and giving the tomb a sacred and inviolable cha- 
racter. The profane violation of the dead and robbery of graves 
were held in desecration, and punished by law. 1 No traditions 
and laws were more sacred among the Egyptians, Greeks, and 
Eomans than those that guarded and protected the shades of the 
departed who can do no harm to any of the living. " It is the 
popular belief/' says Tertullian, " that the dead cannot enter 
Hades before they are buried." Patroclus appears after his 
death to his friend Achilles in a dream, and thus exhorts him to 
provide for his speedy burial : 

"Achilles, sleepest them, forgetting me? 
Never of me unmindful in my life, 
Thou dost neglect me dead. O, bury me 
Quickly, and give me entrance through the gates 
Of Hades ; for the souls, the forms of those 
Who live no more, repulse me, suffering not 
That I should join their company beyond 
The river, and I now must wander round 
The spacious portals of the House of Death." 1 

Christianity intensified this regard for the departed, and gave 
it a solid foundation by the doctrine of the immortality of the 
soul and the resurrection of the body. Julian the Apostate 
traced the rapid spread and power of that religion to three 
causes : benevolence, care of the dead, and honesty. 3 After the 
persecution under Marcus Aurelius, the Christians in Southern 
Gaul were much distressed because the enraged heathens would 
not deliver them the corpses of their brethren for burial. 4 
Sometimes the vessels of the church were sold for the purpose. 
During the ravages of war, famine, and pestilence, they con- 
sidered it their duty to buiy the heathen as well as their fellow- 

1 And it occurs occasionally even among Christian nations. The corpse of 
the richest merchant prince of New York, Alexander T. Stewart (d. 1876), 
was stolen from St. Mark's grave-yard, and his splendid mausoleum in Gar- 
den City on Long Island is empty, 

> Iliad XXIII. 81-88, in Bryanf s translation (II. 284). 

8 Epist. XLIX. ad Arsacium, the pagan high-priest in 

* Bus. IX. 8, 

382 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

Christians. When a pestilence depopulated the cities in the 
reign of the tyrannical persecutor Maximinus, " the Christians 
were the only ones in the midst of such distressing circumstances 
that exhibited sympathy and humanity in their conduct. They 
continued the whole day, some in the care and burial of the 
dead, for numberless were they for whom there was none to 
care; others collected the multitude of those wasting by the 
famine throughout the city, and distributed bread among all. 
So that the fact was cried abroad, and men glorified the God of 
the Christians, constrained, as they were by the facts, to acknow- 
ledge that these were the only really pious and the only real 
worshippers of God." 1 Lactantius says: "The last and greatest 
office of piety is the burying of strangers and the poor; which 
subject these teachers of virtue and justice have not touched 
upon at all, as they measure all their duties by utility. "We will 
not sufier the image and- workmanship of God to lie exposed as 
a prey to beasts and birds ; but we will restore it to the earth, 
from which it had its origin ; and although it be in the case of 
an unknown man, we will fulfil the office of relatives, into 
whose place, since they are wanting, let kindness succeed ; and 
wherever there shall be need of man, there we will think that 
our duty is required." 2 

The early church differed from the pagan and even from the 
Jewish notions by a cheerful and hopeful view of death, and 
by discarding lamentations, rending of clothes, and all signs of 
extravagant grief. The terrors of the grave were dispelled by the 
light of the resurrection, and the idea of death was transformed 
into the idea of a peaceful slumber. No one, says Cyprian, 
should be made sad by death, since in living is labor and peril, 
In dying peace and the certainty of resurrection ; and he quotes 
the examples of Enoch who was translated, of Simeon who 
wished to depart in peace, several passages from Paul, and the 
assurance of the Lord that he went to the Father to prepare 
heavenly mansions for us. 3 The day of a believer's death, espe- 

1 Eustbhis, IT. E. V. I * jwtit p iVm VL c. 12- 3 Testim. I III. c- 5a 


cially if he were a martyr, was called the day of his heavenly 
birth. His grave was surrounded with symbols of hope and of 
victory; anchors, harps, palms, crowns. The primitive Chris- 
tians always showed a tender care for the dead ; under a vivid 
impression of the unbroken communion of saints and the future 
resurrection of the body in glory. For Christianity redeems the 
body as well as the soul, and consecrates it a temple of the Holy 
Spirit. Hence the Greek and Eoman custom of burning the 
corpse (erematio) was repugnant to Christian feeling and the 
sacredness of the body. 1 Tertullian even declared it a symbol 
of the fire of hell, and Cyprian regarded it as equivalent to 
apostasy. In, its stead, the church adopted the primitive 
Jewish usage of burial (inhumatio), 2 practiced also by the Egyp- 
tians and Babylonians. The bodies of the dead were washed, 3 
wrapped in linen cloths, 4 sometimes embalmed/ and then, in the 
presence of ministers, relatives, and friends, with prayer and 
singing of psalms, committed as seeds of immortality to the 
bosom of the earth. Funeral discourses were very common as 
early as the Nicene period. 6 But in the times of persecution the 
interment was often necessarily performed as hastily and secretly 
as possible. The death-days of martyrs the church celebrated 
annually at their graves with oblations, love-feasts, and the 
Lord's Supper. Families likewise commemorated their departed 
members in the domestic circle. The current prayers for the 
dead were originally only thanksgivings for the grace of God 

1 Comp. 1 Cor. 3: 16; 6: 19; 2 Cor. 6: 16. ' Burial was the prevailing 
Oriental and even the earlier Roman custom before the empire, and was 
afterwards restored, no doubt under the influence of Christianity. Minucius 
Felix says (Oetav. c. 34): " Veterem et meliorem consuetudinem Jiumandi fre- 
]u*ntamus." Comp. Cicero, De Leg. II. 22; Pliny, Hist. JVaf. VII. 54; Augus- 
tin, De Civ. Dei 1. 12, 13. Sometimes dead Christians were burned during the 
persecution by the heathen to ridicule their hope of a resurrection. 

2 Comp. Gen. 23: 19; Matt. 27: 60; John 11: 17; Acts 5 6; 8: 2. 
8 Acts 9: 37. 

* Matt. 27: 59; Luke 23: 53; John 11: 44. 

* John 19: 39 eq.; 12: 7. 

* We have the funeral orations of Ensebius at the death of Constantine, of 
Gregory of Nazianzum on his father, brother, and sister, of Ambrose on 

384 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

manifested to them. But they afterwards passed into interces- 
sions, without any warrant in the teaching of the apostles, and 
in connection with questionable views in regard to the interme- 
diate state. Tertullian, for instance, in his argument against 
second marriage, says of the Christian widow, she prays for the 
soul of her departed husband/ and brings her annual offering 
on the day of his departure. 

The same feeling of the inseparable communion of saints gave 
rise to the usage, unknown to the heathens, of consecrated places 
of common burial. 2 For these cemeteries, the Christians, in the 
times of persecution, when they were mostly poor and enjoyed 
no corporate rights, selected remote, secret spots, and especially 
subterranean vaults, called at first crypts, but after the sixth 
century commonly termed catacombs, or resting-places, which 
have been discussed in a previous chapter. 

We close with a few stanzas of the Spanish poet Prudentius 
(d. 405), in which he gives forcible expression to the views and 
feelings of the ancient church before the open grave : 3 

"No more, ah, no more sad complaining; 

Resign these fond pledges to earth: 
Stay, mothers, the thick-falling tear-drops; 
This death is a heavenly birth. 

Take, Earth, to thy bosom so tender, 

Take, nourish this body. How fair, 
How noble in death I We surrender 

These relics of man to thy care. 

This, this was the home of the spirit, 

Once built by the breath of our God; 
And here, in the light of his wisdom, 

Christ, Head of the risen, abode. 

1 u Pro anima, qus orof." Compare, however, the prevailing cheerful tone 
of the epigraphs in the catacombs, p. 301-303. 

* KoLfajT^pta, cimeteria, darmitoria, areas. 

8 From his Tarn mossta quiesce qu&refa, the concluding part of his tenth 
Oz&emermon, Opera, ed. Obbarius (1845), p. 41; Schaff, Christ in Song, p. 506 
i 1 London ed.). Another version by E. Gaswall: "Cease, ye tearful mourners. 
Thus your heart* to rend : Death is life's beginning Bather than its end." 


Guard well the dear treasure we lend thee 

The Maker, the Saviour of men: 
Shall never forget His beloved, 

But claim His own likeness again. 5 * t 

103. Summary of Moral Reforms. 

Christianity represents the thoughts and purposes of God in 
history. They shine as so many stars in the darkness of sin and 
error. They are unceasingly opposed, but make steady progress 
and are sure of final victory. Heathen ideas and practices with 
their degrading influences controlled the ethics, politics, litera- 
ture, and the house and home of emperor and peasant, when the 
little band of despised and persecuted followers of Jesus of Na- 
zareth began the unequal struggle against overwhelming odds 
and stubborn habits. It was a struggle of faith against super- 
stition, of love against selfishness, of purity against corruption, 
of spiritual forces against political and social power. 

Under the inspiring influence of the spotless purity of Christ's 
teaching and example, and aided here and there by the nobler 
instincts and tendencies of philosophy, the -Christian church 
from the beginning asserted the individual rights of man, recog- 
nized the divine image in every rational being, taught the com- 
mon creation and common redemption, the destination of all for 
immortality and glory, raised the humble and the lowly, comforted 
the prisoner and captive, the stranger and the exile, proclaimed 
chastity as a fundamental virtue, elevated woman to dignity and 
equality with man, upheld the sanctity and inviolability of the 
marriage tie, laid the foundation of a Christian family and happy 
home, moderated the evils and undermined the foundations of 
slavery, opposed polygamy and concubinage, emancipated the 
children from the tyrannical control of parents, denounced the 
exposure of children as murder, made relentless war upon the 
bloody games of the arena and the circus, and the shocking in- 
decencies of the theatre, upon cruelty and oppression and every 
vice, infused into a heartless and loveless world the spirit of 
love and brotherhood, transformed sinners into saints, frail 

VoL IL-25 

386 SJSOXS'D PEEIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

women into heroines, aiid lit up the darkness of the tomb by the 
bright ray of unending bliss in heaven. 

Christianity reformed society from the bottom, and built up- 
wards until it reached the middle and higher classes, and at last 
the emperor himself. Then soon after the conversion of Con- 
stantine it began to influence legislation, abolished cruel insti- 
tutions, and enacted laws which breathe the spirit of justice and 
humanity. We may deplore the evils which followed in the 
train of the union of church and state, but we must not over- 
look its many wholesome effects upon the Justinian code which 
gave Christian ideas an institutional form and educational power 
for whole generations to this day. From that time on also be- 
gan the series of charitable institutions for widows and orphans, 
for the poor and the sick, the blind and the deaf, the intempe- 
rate and criminal, and for the care of all unfortunate, institu- 
tions which we seek in vain in any other but Christian countries. 

Xor should the excesses of asceticism blind us against the 
moral heroism of renouncing rights and enjoyments innocent 
in themselves, but so generally abused and poisoned, that total 
abstinence seemed to most of the early fathers the only radical 
and effective cure. So in our days some of the best of men 
regard total abstinence rather than temperance, the remedy of 
the fearful evils of intemperance. 

Christianity could not prevent the irruption of the Northern 
barbarians and the collapse of the Eoman empire. The pro- 
cess of internal dissolution had gone too far; nations as well 
is individuals may physically and morally sink so low that they 
are beyoud the possibility of recovery. Tacitus, the heathen 
Stoic in the second century, and Salvianus, the Christian pres- 
byter in the fiftn, each a Jeremiah of his age, predicted the 
approaching doom and destruction of Roman society, looked 
towards the savage races of the North for fresh blood and new 
vigor. But the Keltic and Germanic conquerors would have 
turned Southern Europe into a vast solitude (as the Turks have 
laid waste the fairest portions of Asia), if they had not embraced 
the principles, laws, and institutions of the Christian church. 



104. Aseetic Virtiw and Piety. 

'JD. M6HLEB (R. C.) : Geschichte des Mbnchthums in der Zeit seiner ersfen 

Entstehung u. ersten Ausbildung, 1836 (" Vermisclite Schriften/' ed. 

Dollinger. Eegensb. 1839, II. p. 165 sqq.). 
Is. TAYLOR (Independent) : Ancient Christianity, 4th ed. London, 1844, 

I. 133-299 (anti-Puseyite and anti Catholic). 
H. BUFFNER (Presbyt.) : The Fathers of the Desert; or an Account of 

the Origin and Practice of Monkery among heathen nations ; its pas' 

sage into the church ; and some wonderful Stories of the Fathers con- 

cerning the primitive Monks and Hermits. N. York, 1850. 2 vols. 
OTTO Z6CKLEK (Lutheran) ; Kritische Geschichte der Askese. Frkf. and 

Erlangen, 1863 (434 pages). 
P. E. Lucius : Die Therapeuten und ihre Stellung in der Geschichte der 

Askese. Strasburg, 1879. 
H. WEINGAHTEN : Ueber den Ursprung des Monchthums im nach-Kon- 

stantinischen Zeitalter. Gotha, 1877. And his article in Herzog's 

"Encykl." new ed. yol. X. (1882) p. 758 sqq. (abridged in Schaff's 

Herzog, yol. II. 1551 sqq. N. Y. 1883). 
AJ>. HARNACK : Das Monchthum, seine Ideale und seine Geschichte. 

Giessen, 1882. 
The general literature on Monasticism is immense, but belongs to 

the next period. See voL III. 147 sq., and the list of books in 

Zockler, 1. c. p. 10-16. 

HEBE we enter a field where the early church appears most 
remote from the free spirit of evangelical Protestantism and 
modern ethics, and stands nearest the legalistic and monastic 
ethics of Greek and Roman Catholicism. Christian life was 
viewed as consisting mainly in certain outward exercises, rather 
than an inward disposition, in a multiplicity of -acts rather than 
a life of faith. The great ideal of virtue was, according to the 
prevailing notion of the fathers and councils, not so much to 
transform the world and sanctify the natural things and reia- 


388 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

tions created by God, as to flee from the 'rcorld into monastic 
seclusion, and voluntarily renounce property and marriage. 
The Pauline doctrine of faith and of justification by grace 
alone steadily retreated, or rather, it was never yet rightly en- 
throned in the general thought and; life of tjie church. The 
qualitative view of morality yielded more and more to quanti- 
tative calculation by the number of outward meritorious and 
even supererogatory works, prayer, fasting, alms-giving, volun- 
tary poverty, and celibacy. This necessarily brought with it a 
Judaizing self-righteousness and over-estimate of the ascetic 
life, which developed, by an irresistible impulse, into the her- 
niit-life and monasticism of the Nicene age. All the germs of 
this asceticism appear in the second half of the third century, 
and even earlier. 

Asceticism in general is a rigid outward self-discipline, by 
which the spirit strives after full dominion over the flesh, and 
a superior grade of virtue. 1 It includes not only that true 
moderation or restraint of the animal appetites, which is a 
universal Christian duty, but total abstinence from enjoyments 
in themselves lawful, from wine, animal food, property, and 
marriage, together with all kinds of penances and mortifications 
of the body. In the union of the abstractive and penitential 
elements, or of self-denial and self-punishment, the catholic 
asceticism stands forth complete in light and shade ; exhibiting, 
on the one hand, wonderful examples of heroic renunciation 

ie, from affKsu, to exercise, to strengthen; primarily applied to athletic 
and gymnastic exercises, but used also, even by the heathens and by Philo, of 
moral self-discipline. Clement of Alex, represents the whole Christian life as 
an acKTimc (Strom. IV. 22) and calls the patriarch Jacob an (wr/c^r^f (Pcedag. 
L 7). But at the same time the term acKtjrai was applied from the middle of 
the second century by Athenagoras, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, 
Epiphaniue, Jerome, etc., to a special class of self-denying Christiana. 
Clement of Alex, styles them Mfi/crwD eKfaKrfospoi (Quis Dives salv. 36 ; Strom. 
VIII. 15V Thus '* ascetics" assumed the same meaning as *' religious " in the 
middle ages. Zockler takes a comprehensive view of asceticism, and divides 
it into eight branches, 1) the asceticism of penal discipline and self-castigation ; 
2) of domestic life; 3) of diet (fasting, abstinence) ; 4) of sexual life (celibacy)- 
5) of devotion; 6) of contemplation ; 7) of practical hTej 8) of social life 
(solitude, poverty, obedience). 


of self and the world, but very often, on the other, a total mis- 
apprehension and perversion of Christian morality ; the renun- 
ciation involving more or less a Gnostic contempt of the gifts 
and ordinances of the God of nature, and the penance or self- 
punishment running into practical denial of the all-sufficient 
merits of Christ. The ascetic and monastic tendency rests 
primarily upon a lively, though morbid sense of the sinfulness 
of the flesh and the corruption of the world ; then upon the 
desire for solitude and exclusive occupation with divine things ; 
and finally, upon the ambition to attain extraordinary holiness 
and merit. It would anticipate upon earth the life of angels in 
heaven. 1 It substitutes an abnormal, self-appointed virtue and 
piety for the normal forms prescribed by the Creator; and not 
rarely looks down upon the divinely-ordained standard with 
spiritual pride. It is a mark at once of moral strength and 
moral weakness. It presumes a certain degree of culture, in 
which man has emancipated himself from the powers of nature 
and risen to the consciousness of his moral calling ; but thinks 
to secure itself against temptation only by entire separation 
from the world, instead of standing in the world to overcome it 
and transform it into the kingdom of God. 

Asceticism is by no means limited to the Christian church, 
but it there developed its highest and noblest form. TFe observe 
kindred phenomena long before Christ; among the Jews, in the 
Nazarites, the Essenes, and the cognate Therapeutse, 2 and still 
more among the heathens, in the old Persian and Indian re- 
ligions, especially among the Buddhists, who have even a fully 
developed system of monastic life, which struck some Eoman 

1 Matt. 22 : 30. Hence the frequent designation of monastic life as a vita 

2 As described by Philo in his tract De vita contemplativa (irspl fiov 
fauprrrtKov). Eusebius (II. 17) mistook the Therapeutse for Christian ascetics, 
and later historians for Christian monks. It was supposed that Philo was 
converted by the Apostle Peter. This error was not dispelled till after the 
Reformation. Lucius, in his recent monograph, sees in that tract an apology 
of Christian asceticism written at the close of the third century under the 
uame of Philo. But Weingarten (in Herzog X. 761 sqq.) again argues for 
the Jewish, though post-Philonic origin of that book. 

390 SECOND PEEIOB. A. D. 100-311. 

missionaries as the devil's caricature of the Catholic system. 
In Egypt the priests of Serapis led a monastic life. 1 There is 
something in the very climate of the land of the Pharaohs, in 
its striking contrast between the solitude of the desert and the 
fertility of the banks of the Xile, so closely bordering on each 
other, and in the sepulchral sadness of the people, which induces 
men to withdraw from the busy turmoil and the active duties 
of life. It is certain that the first Christian hermits and monks 
were Egyptians. Even the Grecian philosophy was conceived 
by the Pythagoreans, the Platonists, and the Stoics, not as 
theoretical knowledge merely, but also as practical wisdom, and 
frequently joined itself to the most rigid abstemiousness, so that 
"philosopher" and "ascetic" were interchangeable terms. 
Several apologists of the second century had by this prac- 
tical philosophy, particularly the Platonic, been led to Chris- 
tianity; and they on this account retained their simple dress 
and mode of life. Tertullian congratulates the philosopher's 
cloak on having now become the garb of a better philosophy. 
In the show of self-denial the Cynics, the followers of Diogenes, 
went to the extreme ; but these, at least in their later degenerate 
days, concealed under the guise of bodily squalor, untrimmed 
nails, and uncombed hair, a vulgar cynical spirit, and a bitter 
hatred of Christianity. 

In the ancient church there was a special class of Christians 
of both sexes who, under the name of "ascetics" or "ab- 
stinents," 2 though still living in the midst of the community, 
retired from society, voluntarily renounced marriage and prop- 
erty, devoted themselves wholly to fasting, prayer, and religious 
contemplation, and strove thereby to attain Christian perfection. 
Sometimes they formed a society of their own, 3 for mutual im- 

1 The Serapis monks have been made known by the researches of Letronne, 
Boissier, and especially Bmnet de Presle (M&moire aw le Sfrapeum de Memphis, 
1852 and 1865). Weingarten derives Christian monasticisin from this source, 
and traces the resemblance of the two. Pachomius was himself a monk of 
Serapis before his conversion. See Eevillout, Le redus du S&rapeum (Paris 
1880, quoted by Weingarten in Herzog X. 784). 

* 'Aff/aTraf, continentes; also xap&hot, virgines. 


provement, an ccclesiola in ecdesia, in which even children 
could be received and trained to abstinence. They shared with 
the confessors the greatest regard from their fellow-Christians, 
had a separate seat in the pnblic worship, and were considered 
the fairest ornaments of the church. In times of persecution 
they sought with enthusiasm a martyr's death as the crown of 

While as yet each congregation was a lonely oasis in the 
desert of the world's corruption, and stood in downright opposi- 
tion to the surrounding heathen world, these ascetics had no 
reason for separating from it and flying into the desert. It was 
under and after Constantine, and partly as the result of the 
union of church and state, the consequent transfer of the world 
into the church, and the cessation of martyrdom, that asceticism 
developed itself to anchoretism and monkery, and endeavored 
thus to save the virgin purity of the church by cariying it into 
the wilderness. The first Christian hermit, Paul of Thebes, is 
traced back to the middle of the third century, but is lost in the 
mist of fable ; St. Anthony, the real father of monks, belongs 
to the age of Constantine. 1 At the time of Cyprian 2 there was 
as yet no absolutely binding vow. The early origiii and wide 
spread of this ascetic life are due to the deep moral earnestness 
of Christianity, and the prevalence of sin in all the social rela- 
tions of the then still thoroughly pagan world. It was the 

* Paul of Thebes withdrew in his sixteenth year, under the Decian persecu- 
tion (250), to a cavern in the lower Thebais, and lived there for one hundred 
and thirteen years, fed by a raven, and known only to God until St. Anthony, 
about 350, revealed 'his existence to the world. But his biography is a pious 
romance of Jerome, the most zealous promoter of asceticism and monasticism 
in the West. " The Life of St. Anthony " (d. about 356) is usually ascribed to 
St. Athanasius, and has undoubtedly a strong historic foundation. Eusebius 
never mentions him, for the two passages in the Ckronicon (ed. Schone II. 192, 
195) belong to the continuation of Jerome. But soon after the middle of the 
fourth < entury Anthony was regarded as the patriarch of monasticism, and Jiis 
biography exerted great influence upon Gregory of Nazianzum, Jerome, and 
Augustin. See vol. III. 179 sqq. Weingarten denies the Athanasian author- 
ship of the biography, but not the historic existence of Ajnthony (in Herzo& 
revised ed. vol. X- 774). 

BpiBt, LXIL 

392 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311, 

excessive development of the negative, world-rejecting element 
in Christianity, which preceded its positive effort to transform 
and sanctify the world* 

The ascetic principle, however, was not confined, in its influ- 
ence, to the proper ascetics and monks. It ruled more or less 
the entire morality and piety of the ancient and mediaeval 
church ; though, on the other hand, there were never wanting 
in her bosom protests of the free evangelical spirit against 
moral narrowness and excessive regard to the outward works 
of the kw. The ascetics were but the most consistent repre- 
sentatives of the old catholic piety, and were commended as 
such by the apologists to the heathens. They formed the spirit- 
ual nobility, the flower of the church, and served especially as 
examples to the clergy. 

105. Heretical and Catholic Asceticism. 

But we must now distinguish two different kinds of asceticism 
in Christian antiquity : a heretical and an orthodox or catholic. 
The former rests on heathen philosophy, the latter is a develop- 
ment of Christian ideas. 

The heretical asceticism, the beginnings of which are resisted! 
in the New Testament itself, 1 meets us in the Gnostic and 
Manichaean sects. It is descended from Oriental and Platonic* 
ideas, and is based on a dualistic view of the world, a con- 
fusion of sin with matter, and a perverted idea of God and! 
the creation. It places God and the world at irreconcilable 
enmity, derives the creation from an inferior being, considers; 
the human body substantially evil, a product of the devil or the 
demiurge, and makes it the great moral business of man to rid 
himself of the same, or gradually to annihilate it, whether by 
excessive abstinence or by unbridled indulgence. Many of the 
Gnostics placed the fall itself in the first gratification of the 
sexual desire, which subjected man to the dominion of t^e 

* I Tim. 4: 3; Col. 2 : 16 sqq. Comp. Rom. 14. 


The orthodox or catholic asceticism starts from a literal and 
overstrained construction of certain passages of Scripture. It 
admits that all nature is the work of God and the object of his 
love, and asserts the divine origin and destiny of the human 
body, without which there could, in fact, be no resurrection^ 
and hence no admittance to eternal glory. 1 It therefore aims 
not to mortify the body, but perfectly to control and sanctify it. 
For the metaphysical dualism between spirit and matter, it sub- 
stitutes the ethical conflict between the spirit and the flesh. 
But in practice it exceeds the simple and sound limits of the 
Bible, falsely substitutes the bodily appetites and affections, or 
sensuous nature, as such, for the flesh, or the principle of selfish- 
ness, which resides in the soul as well as the body ; and thus, 
with all its horror of heresy, really joins in the Gnostic and 
Manichsean hatred of the body as the prison of the spirit. This 
comes out especially in the depreciation of marriage and the 
family life, that divinely appointed nursery of church and state, 
and in excessive self-inflictions, to which the apostolic piety 
affords not the remotest parallel. The heathen Gnostic prin- 
ciple of separation from the world and from the body, 2 as a 
means of self-redemption, after being theoretically exterminated, 
stole into the church by a back door of practice, directly in face 
of the Christian doctrine of the high destiny of the body and 
perfect redemption through Christ. 

The Alexandrian fathers furnished a theoretical basis for 
this asceticism in the distinction of a lower and "higher morality, 
which corresponds to the Platonic or Pythagorean distinction 
-between the life according to nature and the life above nature, 
or the practical and contemplative life. It was previously sug- 
gested by Hermas about the middle of the second century. 3 Ter- 

1 The 51st Apostolic Canon, while favoring asceticism as a useful discipline, 
condemns those who "abhor" things in themselves innocent, as marriage, 01 
flesh,-or wine, and "blasphemously slander God's work, forgetting that all 
things are very good, and that God made man, male and female." The 
Canon implies that there were such heretical ascetics in the chorch, and they 
Are threatened with excommunication. 

1 Entwetilichung and Entleiblichung. 

* Pastor Hermes. Simtt. V. 3. " I* j^u do any good beyond or outsit o) 

39i SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

tullian made a corresponding opposite distinction of mortal and 
venial sins. 1 Here was a source of serious practical errors, and 
an encouragement both to moral laxity and ascetic extravagance 
The ascetics, and afterwards the monks, formed or claimed to 
be a moral nobility, a spiritual aristocracy, above the common 
Christian people ; as the clergy stood in a separate caste of in- 
violable dignity above the laity, who were content with a lower 
grade of virtue. Clement of Alexandria, otherwise remarkable 
for his elevated ethical views, requires of the sage or gnostic, 
that he excel the plain Christian not only by higher knowledge, 
but also by higher, emotionless virtue, and stoical superiority to 
all bodily conditions; and he inclines to regard the body, with 
Plato, as the grave and fetter 2 of the soul. How little he un- 
derstood the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith, may be 
inferred from a passage in the Stromata, where he explains the 
word of Christ : " Thy faith hath saved thee," as referring, not 
to faith simply, but to the Jews only, who lived according to 
the law; as if faith was something to be added to the good 
works, instead of being the source and principle of the holy life. 3 
Origen goes still further, and propounds quite distinctly the 
catholic doctrine of two kinds of morality and piety, a lower 
for all Christians, and a higher for saints or the select few. 4 He 

what is commanded by God (e/crdf rfc hro^g rov #eo5), you will gain for 
yourself more abundant glory (fiut;av ireptcaQTEpav), and will be more honored 
by God than you would otherwise be." 
1 Peccata irremissibilia and remissibilia, or -/nortalia and venialia. 

3 Strom. VI. 14 : When we hear, ' Thy faith hath saved thee' (Mark 5 : 34), 
we do not understand him to say absolutely that those who have believed in 
any way whatever shall be saved, unless also works follow. But it was to the 
Jews alone that he spoke this utterance, who kept the law and lived blame- 
lessly, who wanted only faith in the Lord." 

4 j?ji Ep. ad Earn. c. iii. ed. de la Rue iv. p. 507 : " Donee gui& hoc tantumfacit, 
quod debet, i. e. qua prcecepfa sunt, inutilis servus. Si autem addas aliquid ad 
prcBceptum, tune non jam inutilis seivus em, sed dicetur ad te : Euge serve bone ef 
fidelis. Quid autem sit quod addatur prceceptis et supra debitum fiat Paulus op. 
dixit : De mrginibus autem prceeeptum Domini non habeo, consilium autem do, 
tamyuam misericordiam assecu'us a Domino (1 Cor. 7 : 25). Hoc opus super 
prceceptum est. Et iterum prceeeptum est, ut hi qui evangeliwm, nundantj de 
ecangdio vimnt. Paulus autem dicit, quia nullo korum usus $um: et ideo non 
intttUis erit smitf, sedjidelis et vrudens." 


1 i. e.. 

includes in the higher morality works of supererogation; 
works not enjoined indeed in the gospel, yet recommended as 
counsels of perfection/ which were supposed to establish a pe- 
culiar merit and secure a higher degree of blessedness. He 
who does only what is required of all is an unprofitable ser- 
vant; 3 but he who does more, who performs, for example, what 
Paul, in 1 Cor. 7: 25, merely recommends, concerning the 
single state, or like him, resigns his just claim to temporal 
remuneration for spiritual service, is called a good and faithful 
servant. 4 

Among these works were reckoned martyrdom, voluntary 
poverty, and voluntary celibacy. All three, or at least the last 
two of these acts, in connection with the positive Christian vir- 
tues, belong to the idea of the higher perfection, as distinguished 
from the fulfilment of regular duties, or ordinary morality. To 
poverty and celibacy was afterwards added absolute obedience; 
and these three things were the main subjects of the eonsilia 
evangelica and the monastic vow. 

The grounds which these particular virtues were so strongly 
urged is easily understood. Property, which is so closely allied 
to the selfishness of man and binds him to the earth, and sexual 
intercourse, which brings out sensual passion in its greatest 
strength, and which nature herself covers with the veil of mo- 
desty; these present themselves as the firmest obstacles to that 
perfection, in which God alone is our possession, and Christ 
alone our love and delight. 

In these things the ancient heretics went to the extreme. 
The Ebionites made poverty the condition of salvation. The 
Gnostics were divided between the two excesses of absolute self- 
denial and unbridled self-indulgence. The Marcionites, Carpo- 
cratians, Prodicians, false Basilidians, and Manichseans objected 
to individual property, from hatred to the material world ; and 

1 Opera supererogatoria. 

2 Matt. 19 : 21 ; Luke 14: 26 j 1 Cor. 7 ; 8q. 25. Hence aomHia evangelica, 
in distinction from pracepta. 

5 Luke 17 : 10. * Matt. 25 : 21. 

396 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-811. 

Epiphanes, in a book "on Justice" about 125, defined virtue as 
a community with equality, and advocated the community ot 
goods and women. The more earnest of these heretics entirely 
prohibited marriage and procreation as a diabolical work, as 
in the case of Saturninus, Marcion, and the Encratites ; while 
other Gnostic sects substituted for it the most shameless promis- 
cuous intercourse, as in Carpocrates, Epiphanes, and the Nico- 

The ancient church, on the contrary, held to the divine insti- 
tution of property and marriage, and was content to recommend 
the voluntary renunciation of these intrinsically lawful pleasures 
to the few elect, as means of attaining Christian perfection. She 
declared marriage holy, virginity more holy. But unquestion- 
ably even the church fathers so exalted the higher holiness of 
virginity, as practically to neutralize, or at least seriously to 
weaken, their assertion of the holiness of marriage. The Eoman 
church, in spite of the many Bible examples of married men oi 
God from Abraham to Peter, can conceive no real holiness with- 
out celibacy, and therefore requires celibacy of its clergy without 

106. Voluntary Poverty. 

The recommendation of voluntary poverty was based on a 
literal interpretation of the Lord's advice to the rich young 
ruler, who had kept all the commandments from his youth op : 
"If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that thou hast, and give 
to the poor, and thou shaJt have treasure in heaven: and come, 
follow me." 1 To this were added the actual examples of the 
poverty of Christ and his apostles, and the community of goods 
hi the first Christian church at Jerusalem. Many Christians, 
not of the ascetics only, but also of the clergy, like Cyprian, 
accordingly gave up all their property at their conversion, for 
the benefit of the poor. The later monastic societies sought to 
represent in their community of goods the original equality and 
the perfect brotherhood of men. 
Yet on the other hand, we meet with more moderate view* 

1 Matt. 19: 21, 


Clement of Alexandria, for example, in a special treatise on the 
right use of wealth/ observes, that the Saviour forbade not so 
much the possession of earthly property, as the love of it and 
desire for it and that it is possible to retain the latter, even 
though the possession itself be renounced. The earthly, says he, 
is a material and a means for doing good, and the unequal dis- 
tribution of property is a divine provision for the exercise of 
Christian love and beneficence. The true riches are the virtue, 
which can and should maintain itself under all outward condi- 
tions ; the false are the mere outward possession, which comes 
and goes. 

107. Voluntary Celibacy. 

The old catholic exaggeration of celibacy attached itself to 
four passages of Scripture, viz. Matt. 19: 12; 22: 30; 1 Cor. 
7: 7 sqq.; and Eev. 14: 4; but it went far beyond them, and 
unconsciously admitted influences from foreign modes of thought. 
The words of the Lord in Matt. 22: 30 (Luke 20: 35 sq.) were 
most frequently cited ; but they expressly limit unmarried life 
to the angels, without setting it up as the model for men. Eev. 
14 : 4 was taken by some of the fathers more correctly in the 
symbolical sense of freedom from the pollution of idolatry. 
The example of Christ, though often urged, cannot here furnish 
a rule; for the Son of God and Saviour of the world was too far 
above all the daughters of Eve to find an equal companion 
among them, and in any case cannot be conceived as holding 
such relations. The whole church of the redeemed is his pure 
bride. Of the apostles some at least were married, and among 
them Peter, the oldest and most prominent of all. The advice 
of Paul in 1 Cor. ch. 7 is so cautiously given, that even here 
the view of the fathers found but partial support ; especially if 
balanced with the Pastoral Epistles, where marriage is presented 
as the proper condition for the clergy. Nevertheless he was 
frequently made the apologist of celibacy by orthodox and 

1 Tif 6 0u6fievoe irTiovatoe. 

, : $ f jb SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

heretical writers. 1 Judaism with the exception of the pagan 
izing Essenes, who abstained from marriage highly honors the 
family life; it allows marriage even to the priests and the high- 
priests, who had in fact to maintain their order by physical 
reproduction ; it considers unfruitfulness a disgrace or a curse. 

Heathenism, on the contrary, just because of its own degrada- 
tion of woman, and its low, sensual conception of marriage, fre- 
quently includes celibacy in its ideal of morality, and associates it 
with worship. The noblest form of heathen virginity appears 
in the six Vestal virgins of Rome, who, while girls of from six 
to ten years, were selected for the service of the pure goddess, 
and set to keep the holy fire burning on its altar ; but, after 
serving thirty years, were allowed to return to secular life and 
inarry. The penalty for breaking their vow of chastity was to 
be buried alive in the campus sceleratus. 

The ascetic depreciation of marriage is thus due, at least in 
part, to the influence of heathenism. But with this was asso- 
ciated tte Christian enthusiasm for angelic purity in opposition 
to the horrible licentiousness of the Graeco-Roman world. It 
was long before Christianity raised woman and the family life 
to the purity and dignity which became them in the kingdom of 
God. In this view, we may the more easily account for many 
expressions of the church fathers respecting the female sex, and 
warnings against intercourse with women, which to us, in the 
present state of European and American civilization, sound per- 
fectly coarse and unchristian. John of Damascus has collected 
in his Parallels such patristic expressions as these : " A woman 
is an evil." " A rich woman is a double evil." " A beautiful 
woman is a whited sepulchre." " Better is a man's wickedness 
ihan a woman's goodness." The men who could write so, must 

1 Thus, for example, in the rather worthless apocryphal Acfa Pauli et Thedce, 
which are first mentioned by Tertullian (De Baptismo, c. 17, as the production 
of a certain Asiatic presbyter), and must therefore have existed in the second 
century. There Paul is made to say : Maic&ptot ol tyKpoTBte, bn avrois Acdfaet 
. paKdpioi ol excnrse ywaiKac <5c $ &XOVTSS, fci afoot K^povo^ffovffi row 
> . . . fiampia ra c&para T&V Kapdtvw, brt avrb svapeffrfoovctv r Qs$ ml OVK 
ccHwv rbv fiLc^ov r?f ayveias avr&v. See Tischendorf : Aeta Apostolorum 
Apocrypha- Lips. 1851, p. 42 


have forgotten the beautiful passages to the contrary in the 
proverbs of Solomon yea, they must have forgotten their own 

On the other hand, it may be said, that the preference given 
to virginity had a tendency to elevate woman in the social sphere 
and to emancipate her from that slavish condition under hea- 
thenism, where she could be disposed of as an article of mer- 
chandise by parents or guardians, even in infancy or childhood. 
It should not be forgotten that many virgins of the early church 
devoted their whole energies as deaconesses to the care of the 
sick and the poor, or exhibited as martyrs a degree of passive 
virtue and moral heroism altogether unknown before. Such 
virgins Cyprian, in his rhetorical language, calls "the flowers of 
the church, the masterpieces of grace, the ornament of nature, 
the image of God reflecting the holiness of our Saviour, the 
most illustrious of the flock of Jesus Christ, who commenced on 
earth that life which we shall lead once in heaven." 

The excessive regard for celibacy and the accompanying de- 
preciation of marriage date from about the middle of the second 
century, and reach their height in the Nicene age. 

Ignatius, in his epistle to Polycarp, expresses himself as yet 
very moderately : " If any one can remain in chastity of the 
flesh to the glory of the Lord of the flesh " [or, according to an- 
other reading, " of the flesh of the Lord], let him remain thus 
without boasting; 1 if he boast, he is lost, and if it be made 
known, beyond the bishop, 2 he is ruined/' What a stride from 
this to the obligatory celibacy of the clergy! Yet the admoni- 
tion leads us to suppose, that celibacy was thus early, in the 
beginning of the second century, in many cases, boasted of as 
meritorious, and allowed to nourish spiritual pride. Ignatius is 

a Eav yvua&fi ir^fyv row eTr/ff/afaov, according to the larger Greek recension, 
a, 5, with which the Syriac (c. 2) and Armenian versions agree. But the 
shorter Greek recension reads nteov for ntip, which would give the Beuse : 
" If he tljink himself (on that account) above the (married) bishop ? i 7/10- 

400 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

the first to call voluntary virgins brides of Christ and jewels of 

Justin Martyr goes further. He points to many Christians of 
both sexes who lived to a great age unpolluted ; and he desires 
eelibacy to prevail to the greatest possible extent. He refers to 
the example of Christ, and expresses the singular opinion, that 
the Lord was born of a virgin only to put a limit to sensual 
desire, and to show that God could produce without the sexual 
agency of man. His disciple Tatian ran even to the Gnostic 
extreme upon this point, and, in a lost work on Christian per- 
fection, condemned conjugal cohabitation as a fellowship of cor- 
ruption destructive of prayer. At the same period Athenagoras 
wrote, in his Apology: "Many may be found among us, of both 
sexes, who grow old unmarried, full of hope that they are in 
this way more closely united to God." 

Clement of Alexandria is the most reasonable of all the 
fathers in his views on this point. He considers eunuchism a 
special gift of divine grace, but without yielding it on this ac- 
count preference above the married state. On the contrary, he 
vindicates with great decision the moral dignity and sanctity of 
marriage against the heretical extravagances of his time, and 
lays down the general principle, that Christianity stands not in 
outward observances, enjoyments, and privations, but in right- 
eousness and peace of heart. Of the Gnostics he says, that, 
under the fair name of abstinence, they act impiously towards 
the creation and the holy Creator, and repudiate marriage and 
procreation on the ground that a man should not introduce 
others into the world to their misery, and provide new nourish- 
ment for death. He justly charges them with inconsistency in. 
despising the ordinances of God and yet enjoying the nourish- 
ment created by the same hand, breathing his air, and abiding 
in his world. He rejects the appeal to the example of Christ, 
because Christ needed no help, and because the church is his 
bride. The apostles also he cites against the impugners of mar- 
riage. Peter and Philip begot children; Philip gave his daugh- 
ters in marriage; and even Paul hesitated uot to speak of Q 


female companion (rather only of his right to lead about such 
an one, as well as Peter). TFe seem translated into an entirely 
different, Protestant atmosphere, when in this genial writer we 
read : The perfect Christian, who has the apostles for his pat- 
terns, proves himself truly a man in this, that he chooses not a 
solitary life, but marries, begets children, cares for the house- 
hold, yet under all the temptations which his care for wife and 
children, domestics and property, presents, swerves not from his 
love to God, and as a Christian householder exhibits a miniature 
of the all-ruling Providence. 

But how little such views agreed with the spirit of that age, 
we see in Clement's own stoical and Platonizing conception of 
the sensual appetites, and still more in his great disciple Origen, 
who voluntarily disabled himself in his youth, and could hot 
think of the act of generation as anything but polluting. Hie- 
racas, or Hierax, of Leontopolis in Egypt, who lived during the 
Diocletian persecution, and probably also belonged to the Alex- 
andrian school, is said to have carried his asceticism to a hereti- 
cal extreme, and to have declared virginity a condition of sal- 
vation under the gospel dispensation. Epiphanius describes him 
as a man of extraordinary biblical and medical learning, who 
knew the Bible by heart, wrote commentaries in the Greek and 
Egyptian languages, but denied the resurrection of the material 
body and the salvation of children^ because there can be no re- 
ward without conflict, "and no conflict without knowledge (1 
Tim. 2: 11). He abstained from wine and animal food, and 
gathered around him a society of ascetics, who were called Hie- 
racitse. 1 Methodius was an opponent of the spiritualistic, but 
not of the ascetic Origen, and wrote an enthusiastic plea for vir- 
ginity, founded on the idea of the church as the pure, unspotted, 

i Epiphan. J3cer. 67 ; August. jETcer. 47. Comp. Meander, Walch, and the 
articles of Harnack in Herzog (VI. 100), and Salmon in Smith & Wace (in. 
24). Epiphanius, the heresy hunter, probably exaggerated the doctrines of 
Hieracas, although he treats his asceticism with respect. It is hardly credible 
that he should have excluded married Christians and all children from heaven 
onless he understood by it only the highest degree of blessedness, as Neander 
Vol. 1L 26 

402 SECOND PEBIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

ever young, and ever beautiful bride of God. Yet, quite re- 
markably, in his " Feast of the Ten Virgins/' the virgins ex- 
press themselves respecting the sexual relations with a minute- 
ness which, to our modern taste, is extremely indelicate and 

As to the Latin fathers: The views of Tertullian for and 
against marriage, particularly against second marriage, we have 
already noticed. 1 His disciple Cyprian differs from him in his 
ascetic principles only by greater moderation in expression, and, 
in his treatise De Habitu Yirginwn, commends the unmarried 
life on the ground of Matt. 19 : 12; 1 Cor. 7, and Eev. 14: 4. 

Celibacy was most common with pious virgins, who married 
themselves only to God or to Christ, 2 and in the spiritual de- 
lights of this heavenly union found abundant compensation for 
the pleasures of earthly matrimony. But cases were not rare 
where sensuality, thus violently suppressed, asserted itself under 
other forms; as, for example, in indolence and ease at the ex- 
pense of the church, which Tertullian finds it necessary to cen- 
sure; or in the vanity and love of dress, which Cyprian rebukes; 
and, worst of all, in a desperate venture of asceticism, which 
probably often enough resulted in failure, or at least filled the 
imagination with impure thoughts. Many of these heavenly 
brides 3 lived with male ascetics, and especially with unmarried 
clergymen, under pretext of a purely spiritual fellowship, in so 
intimate intercourse as to put their continence to the most peril- 
ous test, and wantonly challenge temptation, from which we 
should rather pray to be kept. This unnatural and shameless 
practice was probably introduced by the Gnostics; Irenseus at 
least charges it upon them. The first trace of it in the church 
appears early enough, though under a rather innocent allegorical 
form, in the Pastor Hermes, which originated in the Roman 
church.* It is next mentioned in the Pseudo-Clementine Epis- 

1 See 2 99, p. 367. t ^ptce Deo, Ckneto. 

' 'Adetytit, sorore* (1 Cor. 9:5); afterwards cleverly called ywaiKec cwtioaKrot. 
mulieres subintrodiietue. extraneae- 
4 $imil. IX, c. ] 1 (ed. Gcbhardt & Haraack, p. 218). The 


ties Ad Virgines. In the third century it prevailed widely in 
the East and West. The worldly-minded bishop Paulus of 
Antioch favored it by his own example. Cyprian of Carthage 
came out earnestly, 1 and with all reason, against the vicious 
practice, in spite of the solemn protestation of innocence by these 
" sisters/ 3 and their appeal to investigations through midwives. 
Several councils, at Elvira, Ancyra, ]S"icsea, &c., felt called upon 
to forbid this pseudo-ascetic scandal. Yet the intercourse of 
clergy with "mulieres submtroduetce" rather increased than dimi- 
nished with the increasing stringency of the celibate laws, and 
has at all times more or less disgraced the Roman priesthood. 

108. Celibacy of the Clergy. 

G-. CALIXTUS (Luth.) : De conjug. ckricorum. Helmst. 1631; ed. emend. 

K Ph. Kr. HenJce, 1784, 2 Parts. 
L0D. THOMASSIBT (Rom. Cath., d. 1696) : Vefus et Nova Ecclesia Pis- 

dplina. Lucae, 1728, 3 yols. fol. ; Mayence, 1787, also in French. 

P. I. L. II. c. 60-67. 
FR. ZACCARIA (E. 0.) : Storia polemica del celibaio sacro. Bom. 1774 ; 

and Nuova giustificazione del celibate sacro. Fuligno, 1785. 
F. W. CAROVE (Prot.) : Vollstandige Samndung der Colibatsgesetze. 

Francf. 1823. 
J. ANT. & AUG. THEII^ER (E. C.) : Die Einfuhrung der erzwungenen 

Eheksigkeit bei den Geistlichen u. ihre Folgen. Altenb. 1828 ; 2 vols. ; 

second ed. Augsburg, 1845. In favor of the abolition of enforced 


who doubtless symbolically represent the Christian graces (fdes, abitinentia, 
potestaSj patientla, simplicitas, innocentia, castitas, httaritas, veriias, intelligentiaj 
concordia, and cantos, comp. c. 15), there say to Hernias, when he proposes an 
evening walk: Oi> tivvaaai a<p' IJJJ.QV avaxupqffai .... Mei?' jj/ziiv Koi/jLirDqarji of 
afetydg, KOI ovtf &f avfy' ^fref/of yap aSe?.<pbc el* Ka2 rov %oixoi> [&2opev 
pera cov KarotKetv, ^.iav y&p as a-ytt.ir5)[tv. Then the first of these virgins, fides, 
comes to the blushing Hennas, and begins to kiss him. The others do the 
fiame ; they lead him to the tower (symbol of the church), and sport with 
him. When night comes on, they retire together to rest, with singing and 
prayer ; ical enetva, he continues, per 1 avrw rrjv vvicra nal SKQIM&IJV xapa rbv 
irbpyov. 'Earpcjcrav 6$ cd Kaptitvot rovg T^insvQ xirQva^ lavrQv x a P a it KC " *P* 
avfafavav etc rb JJL&QV avrav, KOI ov6v 6^)f iicoiow d $ irpoaijvxw' ^7^ 
)wer' avr&v adiaMirruc irpoaqvxtfJTtv. It cannot be conceived that the apostolic 
Hennas wrote such silly stuff. It sounds much more like a later Hermat 
towards the middle of the second century. 
1 tip. LXII, also V. and VL 

404 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

TH. FE. KUTSCHE (E. C.) : Geschichte des Oolibats (from the time of the 
Apostles to Gregory VII.) Augsb. 1830. 

A. MOHLEE : Beleuchtung der (badischen) Denkschrift zur Aufhebung 
des Colibats. In his < Gesammelte Schriften." Eegensb. 1839, vol. 
I. 177 sqq. 

C. J. EEFELE (R. C.) : Beitrage zur Eirchengesch. Vol. 1. 122-139. 

A. DE ROSKOYA^Y (E. C.) : C&libatus et Bremarium .... a monumentis 
omnium s&culorum demonstrata. Pest, 1861. 4 YO!S. A collection 
of material and official decisions, Schulte calls it " dn ganzlich 
unkritischer Abdruch von Quellen." 

HENRT C. LEA (Prot.) : An Historical Sketch of Sacerdotal Celibacy in 
the Christian Church. Philadelphia, 1867; 2d ed. enlarged, Boston, 
1884 (682 pp.) ; the only impartial and complete history down to 1880. 

PROBST (E. C.) : KircWche Disciplin, 1870. 

J. FRIED, vox. SCHULTE (Prof, of jurisprudence in Bonn, and one of 
the leaders among the Old Catholics) ; Der Colibatszwang mid dessen 
Aufhebung. Bonn 1876 (96 pages). Against celibacy. 

All the above works, except that of Lea, are more or less con- 
troversial. Comp. also, on the Eoman Oath, side, art. Celibacy, 
MABTIGXY, and in KnArs, "Keal-Encykl. der christl. Alterthiimer" 
(1881) I. 304-307 by Fmre, and in the new ed. of WETZER & 
WELTE'S ft Kirchenlexicon ; " on the Prot. side, BINGHAM, Book 
IV. ch. V. ; HEEZOG 2 , III. 299-303 ; and SMITH & CHEETHAM, I. 

As the clergy were supposed to embody the moral ideal of 
Christianity, and to be in the full sense of the term the heritage 
of God, they were required to practise especially rigid sexual 
temperance after receiving their ordination. The virginity of 
the church of Christ, who was himself born of a virgin, seemed, 
in the ascetic spirit of the age, to recommend a virgin priest- 
hood as coming nearest his example, and best calculated to pro- 
mote the spiritual interests of the church. 

There were antecedents in heathenism to sacerdotal celibacy. 
Buddhism rigorously enjoined it under a penalty of expulsion. 
The Egyptian priests were allowed one, but forbidden a second 
Carriage, while the people practiced unrestrained polygamy. 
The priestesses of the Delphic Apollo, the Achaian Juno, the 
Scythian Diana, and the Eoman Vesta were virgins. 

In the ante-Xicene period sacerdotal celibacy did not as yet 
become a matter of law, but was left optional, like the vow of 
chastity among the laity. In the Pastoral Epistles of Paul 


marriage, if not expressly enjoined, is at least allowed to all 
ministers of the gospel (bishops and deacons), and is presumed 
to exist as the rule. 1 It is an undoubted fact that Peter and 
several apostles, as well as the Lord's brothers, were married, 2 
and that Philip the deacon and evangelist had four daughters. 3 
It is also self-evident that, if marriage did not detract from the 
authority and dignity of an apostle, it cannot be inconsistent 
with the dignity and purity of any minister of Christ. The 
marriage relation implies duties and privileges, and it is a 
strange perversion of truth if some writer^ under the influence 
of dogmatic prejudice have turned the apostolic marriages, and 
that between Joseph and Mary into empty forms. Paul would 
have expressed himself very differently if he had meant to 
deny to the clergy the conjugal intercourse after ordination, as 

1 The passages 1 Tim. 3: 2, 12; Tit. 1 : 5, where St. Paul directs that pres- 
byter-bishops and deacons must be husbands of " one wife" (utag ywaLKbs avdpts), 
are differently interpreted. The Greek church takes the words both as com- 
manding (fel) one marriage of the clergy (to the exclusion, however, of bishops 
who muse be unmarried), and as prohibiting a second marriage. The Eoman 
church understands Paul as conceding one marriage to the weakness of the 
flesh, but as intimating the better way of total abstinence (Comp. 1 Cor. 7 : 7, 
32, 33). Protestant commentators are likewise divided; some refer the two 
passages to simultaneous, others to successive polygamy. The former view 
was held even by some Greek fathers, Theodore of Mopsueste and Theodoret; 
but the parallel expression evof avtipb? >in^, 1 Tim. 5 : 9, seems to favor the 
latter view, since it is very unlikely that polyandry existed in apostolic 
churches. And yet Paul expressly allows without a censure second marriage 
after the death of the former husband or wife, Rom. 7 : 2, 3; 1 Cor. 7: 39; 
1 Tim. 5: 14. For this reason some commentators (Matthies, Hofmann, 
Huther in Meyer's Com.) understand the apostle as prohibiting concubinage 
or all illegitimate connubial intercourse. 

2 1 Cor. 9:5: " Have we no right (k^nvaiav) to lead about a wife that is a 
believer (adstyift jwaiKa), even as the rest of the apostles (ol I.OLXOI fa.} and 
the brothers of the Lord (ol adstyol T. Kpw), and Cephas?" The definite 
article seems to indicate that the majority, if not all, the apostles and 
brothers of the Lord were married. The only certain exception is John, 
and probably also Paul, though he may have been a widower, Tertullian 
in his blind zeal argued that ywalKa is to be rendered mvlierem, not uxor&n 
(De Monog. c. 8), but his contemporary, Clement of Alex., does not question 
the true interpretation, speaks of Pet^r, Paul, and Philip, as married, and of 
Philip as giving his daughters in marriage. Tradition ascribes to Peter a 
daughter, St Petronilla, 

s Acts 21 : a 9. 

406 SECOND PEEIOD. A. V. 100-311. 

was done by the fathers and councils in the fourth century. He 
expressly classes the prohibition of marriage (including its con- 
sequences) among the doctrines of demons or evil spirits that 
control the heathen religions, and among the signs of the 
apostacy of the latter days. 1 The Bible represents marriage as 
the first institution of God dating from the state of man's in- 
nocency, and puts the highest dignity upon it in the Old and 
New Covenants. Any reflection on the honor and purity of 
the married state and the marriage bed reflects on the patriarchs, 
Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, yea, on the wisdom and 
goodness of the Creator. 2 

There was an early departure from these Scripture views in 
the church under the irresistible influence of the ascetic en- 
thusiasm for virgin purity. The undue elevation of vir- 
ginity necessarily implied a corresponding depreciation of 

The scanty documents of the post-apostolic age give us only 
incidental glimpses into clerical households, yet sufficient to 
prove the unbroken continuance of clerical marriages, especially 
in the Eastern churches, and at the same time the superior esti- 
mate put upon an unmarried clergy, which gradually limited or 
lowered the former. 

Polycarp expresses his grief for Valens, a presbyter in Phil- 
ippi, " and his wife," on account of his covetousness. 3 Irenseus 
mentions a married deacon in Asia Minor who was ill-rewarded 
for his hospitality to a Gnostic heretic, who seduced his wife.* 
Rather unfortunate examples. Clement of Alexandria, one of 
the most enlightened among the ante-Nicene fathers, describes 
the true ideal of a Christian Gnostic as one who marries and has 
children, and so attains to a higher excellence, because he con- 

MTim. 4: 1-3. 

* Comp. Heb. 13: 4: "Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the 
bed be undefiled '* (rifitoq 6 ydiws ev iraat, xal 77 Koirrj afiiavTog). 

3 JEp. ad PhU. c. 11. Some think that incontinence or adultery is referred to; 
but the proper reading is dilapyvpia, avaritia, not vfaavegia. 

* Adv. Hoer. 1. 13, 5 (ed. Stieren 1. 155). 


quers more temptations than that of the single state. 1 Tertul- 
lian, though preferring celibacy, was a married priest, and ex- 
horted his wife to refrain after his death from a second marriage 
in order to attain to that ascetic purity which was impossible du- 
ring their menried life. 2 He also draws a beautiful picture of the 
holy beauty of a Christian family. An African priest, Xovatus 
another unfortunate example was arraigned for murdering 
his unborn child. 3 There are also examples of married bishops. 
Socrates reports that not even bishops were bound in his age by 
any law of celibacy, and that many bishops during their episco- 
pate' begat children. 4 Athanasius says: 5 "Many bishops have 
not contracted matrimony; while, on the other hand, monks 
have become fathers. Again, we see bishops who have children, 
and monks who take no thought of having posterity." The 
father of Gregory of Nazianzum (d. 390) was a married bishop, 
and his mother, Nonna, a woman of exemplary piety, prayed 
earnestly for male issue, saw her future son in a prophetic vision, 
and dedicated him, before his birth, to the service of God, and 
he became the leading theologian of his age. Gregory of Xyssa 
(d. about 394) was likewise a married bishop, though he gave 
the preference to celibacy. Synesius, the philosophic disciple of 
Hypatia of Alexandria, when pressed to accept the bishopric of 
Ptolemais (A. D. 410), declined at first, because he was unwilling 
to separate from his wife, and desired numerous offspring : but 

i Strom. VII 12, p. 741. 

8 Ad Uxor. 1.7 : " Ut quod in matrimonio non minimus, in viduitate seciemur. 
This clearly implies the continuance of sexual intercourse. Tertullian lays 
down the principle : " Defuncto viro matnmonium defungitur?' 

3 Cyprian, Epist. 52, cap. 2, Oxf. ed. and ed. Hart el (al. 48). He paints his 
schismatical opponent in the darkest colors, and charges him with kicking his 
wife in a state of pregnancy, and thus producing a miscarriage, but he does 
not censure him for his marriage. 

*Hwt. Etd. V. 22: "In the East all clergymen, and even the bishops 
themselves abstain from their wives: but this shey do of their own accord, 
there being no law in force to make it accessary ; for there have been among 
them many bisbops who have hud children by their lawful wives during their 

* In a letter to the Egyptian monk Dracontius, who had scruples about ac- 
cepting a call to the episcopate. 

408 SECOND PERIOD. A. D. 100-311. 

he finally accepted the office without a separation. This proves 
that his case was already exceptional. The sixth of the Apos- 
tolical Canons directs : " Let not a bishop, a priest, or a deacon 
cast off his own wife under pretence of piety; but if he does cast 
her off, let him be suspended. If he go on in it, let him be de- 
prived." The Apostolical Constitutions nowhere prescribe cleri- 
cal celibacy, but assume the single marriage of bishop, priest, 
and deacon as perfectly legitimate. 1 

The inscriptions on the catacombs bear likewise testimony to 
clerical marriages down to the fifth century. 2 

1 This is substantially also the position of Eusebius, Epiphanius, and 
Chrysostom, as far as we may infer from allusions, and their expositions of 1 
Tim. 3: 2, although all preferred celibacy as a higher state. See Funk, 
I. c. p. 305. The Synod of Gangra, after the middle of the fourth century, 
anathematized (Can. 4} those who maintained that it was wrong to attend the 
eucharistic services of priests living in marriage. See Hefele I. 782, who 
remarks against Baronius, that the canon means such priests as not only 
had wives, but lived with them in conjugal intercourse (mit denselben ehelich 
Mben). The Codex EGdesiae Bom. ed. by Quesnel omits this canon. 

* Lundy (Monumental Christianity, N. Y, 1876, p. 343 sqq.) quotes the fol- 
lowing inscriptions of this kind from Gruter, Bosio, Arringhi, Burgon, and 
other sources : 

''The place of the Presbyter Basil and his Felicitas. 
They made it for themselves." 

" Susanna, once the happy daughter of the Presbyter Gabinus, 
Here lies in peace joined with her father." 

"Gaudentius, the Presbyter, for himself and his wife Severn, a virtuous 
woman, who lived 42 years, 3 months, 10 days. Buried on the 4th 
after the nones of April, Timasius and Promus being consuls.*' 

"Petronia, the wife of a Levite, type of modesty. In this place I lay 
my bones; spare your tears, dear husband and daughters, and believe 
that it is forbidden to weep for one who lives in God. Buried in 
peace, on the third before the nones of October." 

The names of three children appear on the same tablet, and are no doubt 
those referred to by Petronia as hers, with the consular dates of their burial, 
Her own interment was A,I>. 472. 

Gruter and Le Bknt both publish a very long and elaborate inscription at 
Narbonne, A. D. 427, to the effect that Busticus the Bishop, son of Bonosius, a 
Bishop, nephew of Aratoris, another Bishop, etc., in connection with the pres- 
byter Ursus and the deacon Hermetus, began to build the church; and that 
Montanus the sub- deacon finished the apse, etc. 


At the same time the tendency towards clerical celibacy set in 
very early, and made steady and irresistible progress, especially 
in the West. This is manifest in the qualifications of the facts 
and directions just mentioned. For they leave the impression 
that there were not many happy clerical marriages and model 
pastors' wives in the early centuries ; nor could there be so long 
as the public opinion of the church, contrary to the Bible, ele- 
vated virginity above marriage. 

1. The first step in the direction of clerical celibacy was the 
prohibition of second marriage to the clergy, on the ground that 
PauFs direction concerning "the husband of one wife" is a re- 
striction rather than a command. In the Western church, in 
the early part of the third century, there were many clergymen 
who had been married a second or even a third time, and 
this practice was defended on the ground that Paul allowed 
re-marriage, after the death of one party, as lawful without any 
restriction or censure. This fact appears from the protest of the 
Montanistic Tertullian, who makes it a serious objection to the 
Catholics, that they allow digamists to preside, to baptize, and 
to celebrate the communion. 1 Hippolytus, who had equally 
rigoristic views on discipline, reproaches about the same time 
the Roman bishop Callistus with admitting to sacerdotal and 
episcopal office those who were married a second and even a 
third time, and permitting the clergy to marry after having 
been ordained. 2 But the rigorous practice prevailed, and was 
legalized in the Eastern church. The Apostolical Constitutions 
expressly forbid bishops, priests, and deacons to marry a second 
time. They also forbid clergymen to marry a concubine, or a 
slave, or a widow, or a divorced won^an, and extend the prohi- 
bition of second marriage even to cantors, readers, and porters. 
As to the deaconess, she must be "a pure virgin, or a widow 
who has been but once married, faithful and well esteemed." 3 

1 He asks the Catholics with indignation: " Qwt enim ct d'igami 

apud vos, insidtontes utique apo<tofa eerie non wiibexcentes, cum hcec sub Mis 
legunturf .... Digamus tinguisf digamus offers f v X>e Monog. c. 12. 

2 PkUosoph. IX. 12. 

3 CwisL Ap. VI. 17. 

410 SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

The Apostolical Canons give similar regulations, and declare 
that the husband of a second wife, of a widow, a courtezan, an 
actress, or a slave was ineligible to the priesthood. 1 

2. The second step was the prohibition of marriage and con- 
jugal intercourse after ordination. This implies the incompati- 
bility of the priesthood with the duties and privileges of mar- 
riage. Before the Council of Elvira in Spain (306) no distinction 
was made in the Latin church between marriages before and 
after ordination. 2 But that rigoristic council forbade nuptial 
intercourse to priests of all ranks upon pain of excommunication. 3 
The Council of Aries (314) passed a similar canon. 4 And so 
did the Council of Ancyra (314), which, however, allows deacons 
to marrv as deacons, in case they stipulated for it before taking 
orders. 5 This exception was subsequently removed by the 27th 

* Can. 17, 18, 19, 27. The Jewish high-priests were likewise required to 
marrr a virgin of their own people. Lev. 21 : 16, 

1 Admitted by Prof. Funk (E. Cath.), who quotes Innocent, Ep. ad Epise. 
Mated, e. 2 ; Leo I Ep. XII. c. 5. He also admits that Paul's direction ex- 
cludes such a distinction. See Ejaus, fied-Enc. I. 304 sq. 

3 Qan. 33 : ft Placuit in totum prohibere episcopis, presbyteris, et diaconibvs, vel 
omnibus dericis positis in ministerio, abstinere se a conjugibus suis, et non generare 
flios; quicunque vero fecerit, ah konore clericatus exterminetur." Hefele says 
(1. 168} : "This celebrated canon contains the first law of celibacy." It is 
strange that the canon in its awkward latinity seems to prohibit the clergy to 
abstain from their wives, when in fact it means to prohibit the intercourse. On 
account of the words positis in ministeriOj some would see here only a prohibi- 
tion of sexual commerce at the time of the performance of clerical functions, 
as in the Jewish law ; but this was self-understood, and would not come up to 
the disciplinary standard of that age. How little, however, even in Spain, 
that first law on celibacy was obeyed, may be inferred from the letter of Pope 
Siricins to Bishop Himerius of Tarragona, that there were, at the close of the 
fourth century, plurimi sacerdotes Christi et leoitce living in wedlock. 

* Can. 6 (29, see Hefele 1. 217) : " Prceterea, quod dignu^pudicum et honestum 
estj suademus fratribus, ut sacerdotes et levita cum uxoribus suis non coeant, quia 
ministerio quotidiano occupantur. Quicunque contra hane constitutionem fecerit, a 
d&ritatws honore deponatur" 

& Can. 10 (Hefele, Conciliengesch. I. p. 230, 2* Aufl.). The canon is adopted 
in the Corpus juris can. c. S. Dist. 28. The Synod of Neo-Csesarea, between 
314-325, can. 1, forbids the priests to marry on pain of deposition. This does 
not conflict with the other canon, and likewise passed into the Canon Law c 
9, Dist 28. See Hefele, I. 244. ' 


Apostolic Canon, which allows only the lectors and cantors (be- 
longing to the minor orders) to contract marriage. 1 

At the GEeuinenical Council of Xicaea (325) an attempt was 
made, probably under the lead of Hosius, bishop of Cordova 
the connecting link between Elvira and Xicsea to elevate the 
Spanish rule to the dignity and authority of an oecumenical or- 
dinance, that is, to make the prohibition of marriage after ordi- 
nation and the strict abstinence of married priests from conjugal 
intercourse, the universal law of the Church ; but the attempt 
was frustrated by the loud protest of Paphnutius, a venerable 
bishop and confessor of a city in the Upper Thebaid of Egypt, 
who had lost one eye in the Diocletian persecution, and who had 
himself never touched a woman. He warned the fathers of the 
council not to impose too heavy a burden on the clergy, and to 
remember that marriage and conjugal intercourse were venerable 
and pure. He feared more harm than good from excessive rigor. 
It was sufficient, if unmarried clergymen remain single accord- 
ing to the ancient tradition of the church ; but it was wrong to 
separate the married priest from his legitimate wife, whom he 
married while yet a layman. This remonstrance of a strict 
ascetic induced the council to table the subject and to leave the 
continuance or discontinuance of the married relation to the 
free choice of every clergyman. It was a prophetic voice of 
warning. 2 

The Council of Nicsea passed no kw in favor of celibacy ; but 
it strictly prohibited in its third canon the dangerous and scan- 
dalous practice of unmarried clergymen to live with an unmar- 

1 " Of those who come into the clergy unmarried, we permit only the read- 
ers and singers, if they are so minded, to marry afterward." 

* This important incident of Papbnutius rests on the unanimous testimony 
of the well informed historians Socrates (Hist. Ecd. I. 11), Sozomen (JET E. 
I. 23), and Gelaaius Cyzic. (Hist. Cone. Nic. II. 32) ; see Mansi, Harduin, and 
Hefele (I. 431-435). It agrees moreover with the directions of the Apost. 
Const and Canons, and with the present practice of the Eastern churches on 
this subject. The objections of Baronius, Bellarmine, Yalesius, and othei 
Eomanists are unfounded and refuted by Natalis Alexander, and Hefele 
(L c.). Funk (B. C.) says: "Die J&inwendungen, die gegen den BericM 
wrgebrocht wurden, yind wttig nichtig" (utterly futile). 

412 SECOND PEB10D. A, D. 100-311. 

ried woman/ unless she be "a mother or sister or aant or a 
person above suspicion."* This prohibition must not be con- 
founded with prohibition of nuptial intercourse #ny more than 
those spiritual concubines are to be identified with regular wives. 
It proves, however, that nominal clerical celibacy must have 
extensively prevailed at the time. 

The Greek Church substantially retained the position of the 
fourth century, and gradually adopted the principle and practice 
of limiting the law of celibacy to bishops (who are usually taken 
from monasteries), and making a single marriage the rule for 
the lower clergy; the marriage to take place before ordination, 
and not to be repeated. Justinian excluded married men from 
the episcopate, and the Trullan Synod (A. D. 692) legalized the 
existing practice. In Russia (probably since 1274), the single 
marriage of the lower clergy was made obligatory. This is an 
error in the opposite direction. Marriage, as well as celibacy, 
should be left free to each man's conscience. 

3. The Latin Church took the third and last step, the abso- 
lute prohibition of clerical marriage, including even the lower 
orders. This belongs to the next period; but we will here 
briefly anticipate the result Sacerdotal marriage was first pro- 
hibited by Pope Siricius (A. D. 385), then by Innocent I. (402), 
Leo I. (440), Gregory I. (590), and by provincial Synods of 
Cairthage (390 and 401), Toledo (400), Orleans (538), Orange 
(441), Aries (443 or 452), Agde (506), Gerunda (517). The 
great teachers of the K"icene and post-Mcene age, Jerome, Au- 
gustin, and Chrysostom, by their extravagant laudations of the 
superior sanctity of virginity, gave this legislation the weight of 
their authority. St. Jerome, the author of the Latin standard 

1 Euphoniously called (rweiffaicros, mbintrodwsta (introduced as a companion), 
fyaTnrrf, soror. See Hefele, 1. 380. Comp. on this canon W. Bright, Notes 
on the Canons of the First Four General Cbimcife. Oxford, 1882, pp. 8, 9. A 
Council of Antioch had deposed Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, for thii 
nasty practice, and for heresy. Euseb. H. E, VII. 30. 

2 Notwithstanding this canonical prohibition the 'disreputable practice con' 
tinned. Chrysostom wrote a discourse '' against persons sxovrag napftivovt 
owsiffdKrov?," and another urging the dedicated virgins not to live with them. 
Jerome complains of the "pestis agapetarum" (Ep. XXIT. 11). 


version of the Bible, took the lead in this ascetic crusade against 
marriage, and held up to the clergy as the ideal aim of the 
saint, to "cut down the wood of marriage by the ase of virgin- 
ity." He was willing to praise marriage, but only as the nursery 
of virgins. 1 

Thus celibacy was gradually enforced in the Vest under 
the combined influence of the sacerdotal and hierarchical in- 
terests to the advantage of the hierarchy, but to the injury of 
morality. 2 

For while voluntary abstinence, or such as springs from a 
special gift of grace, is honorable and may be a great blessing to 
the church, the forced celibacy of the clergy, or celibacy as a 
universal condition of entering the priesthood, does violence to 
nature and Scripture, and, all sacramental ideas of marriage to 
the contrary notwithstanding, degrades this divine ordinance, 
which descends from the primeval state of innocence, and sym- 
bolizes the holiest of all relations, the union of Christ with his 
church. But what is in conflict with nature and nature's God 
is also in conflict with the highest interests of morality. Much, 
therefore, as Catholicism has done to raise woman and the family 
life from heathen degradation, we still find, in general, that in 

1 Ep. XXII. " Laudo nuptias, laudo conjugium, sed quia miki virgines 
generant." Comp. Ep. CXXIIJ. 

2 And the Boman church seems to care more for the power, than for the 
purity of the clergy. Gregory VII., who used all his unflinching energy to 
enforce celibacy, said openly : " Non liberari potest ecde&ia a servitude laicQrum, 
itm liberentwr cferici 06 uxoribus." As clerical celibacy is a matter of discipline, 
not of doctrine, the Pope might at any time abolish it, and Aeneas Sylvius, 
before he ascended the chair of Peter as Pius II. (1458 to 1464), remarked 
that marriage had been denied to priests for good and sufficient reasons, but 
thai still stronger ones now required its restoration. The United Greeks and 
Maronites are allowed to retain their wives. Joseph II. proposed to extend 
the permission. During the French Eevolution, and before the conclusion 
of the Concordat (1801), many priests and nuns were married. But the 
hierarchical interest always defeated in the end snch movements, and preferred 
to keep the clergy aloof from the laity in order to exercise a greater power 
over it. " The Latin church," says Lea in Ms History of Celibacy, tl is the 
most wonderful structure in history, and ere its leaders can consent to such 
a reform they must confess that its career, so full of proud recollections, ha 
been an error," 

SECOND PERIOD. A.D. 100-311. 

Evangelical Protestant countries, woman occupies a far highei 
grade of intellectual and moral culture than in exclusively Ro- 
man Catholic countries. Clerical marriages are probably the 
most happy as a rule, and have given birth to a larger number 
of useful and distinguished men and women than those of any 
other class of society. 1 

1 Comp. this History, Vol. VI., \ 79, p. 473 sqq. 


109. Literature* 


lie prophetic utterances of MONTAXTTS, PEISOA (or PRISCILLA) and 
MAXIMILLA, scattered through Tertullian and other writers, col- 
lected by F. MtoTEB, (Effata et Oracula JtTontanistarum, Hafnise, 
1829), and by BOJSTWETSCH, in his Qesch. des Mont. p. 197-200. 

TEBTTJLLIAX'S writings after A. D. 201, are the chief source, especially 
De Corona Militis; De Fuga in Persec.; De Cult. Feminarum; De 
Virg. Velandis ; De Exhort Castitatis ; De Mbnogamia / De Paradiso; 
DeJejunm; De Pudieitia; De Spectaculis ; De Spe Fideliuni. His 
seven books On Ecstasy, mentioned by Jerome, are lost. In his later 
anti-heretical writings (Adv. Marcionem; Adv. Valentin.; Adv. 
Pracean; DeAnima; De Resurr. Carnis), Tertullian occasionally 
refers to the new dispensation of the Spirit. On the chronology of 
his writings see Uhlhorn : Fundamenta chronologies Tertullianea 
(Gott. 1852), Bonwetsch: Die Schriften Tertuttians nach der Zeit 
ihrer Abfassung (Bonn, 1878), and Harnack, inBrieger^s " Zeitschrift 
furK. gesch." No. II. 

IBEST^TTS: Adv. ffcer. III. 11, 9; IV. 33, 6 and 7. (The references to 
Montanism are somewhat doubtrul). ETJSEBIUS: H. E. Y. 3. 
EPIPHAN. : JEfor. 48 and 49. 

The anti-Montanist writings of Apolinarius (Apollinaris) of 
Hierapolis, Melito of Sardes, Miltiades (^spi rov $ 6slv Trpo^rjnjv h 
tKtrraffst Xc&elv), Apollonius, Serapion, Gaius, and an anonymous 
autbor quoted by Eu-sebius are lost Comp. on the sources Soyres, 
L c. p. 3-24, and Bonwetsch, 1. e. p. 16-55. 


THEOPH. WEBXSDOBF: Commentatio de Montanistis Sacuti JZ vulgo 
creditis hareticis. Dantzig, 1781. A vindication of Montanism as 
being essentially agreed with the doctrines of the primitive church 
and unjustly condemned. Mosheini differs, but speaks favorably ot 
it. * So also Soyres. Arnold had espoused the cause of M. before, in 
llis KircJien^u,tid Ketz&rhwtorie. 

416 SECOND PKRiOD. A. D. 100-311. 

MOSHEIM: De Eebus Christ, ante Const M. p. 410-425 (Murdock'g 

I. 501-512). 

WALCH : Eetzerhistorie, I. 611-666. 
KIECHXER: De Montanistis. Jense, 1832. 

NEAXDEB: Antignosticus oder Geist aus TertulHan's ScJurifien. Berlin, 
1825 (2ded. 1847), and the second ed. of his Kirchengesch. 1843, Bd. 

II. 877-908 (Torrey's transl. Boston ed. vol. I. 506-526). Neander 
was the first to give a calm and impartial philosophical view of 
Montanism as the realistic antipode of idealistic Gnosticism. 

A. SCHWEGLEB, : Der Montanismus und die christl. Kirche des 2 ten Jahrh. 
Tiib. 1841. Comp. his Nach-apost. Zdtalter (Tub. 1846). A very 
ingenious philosophical a-priori construction of history in the spirit 
of 'the Tubingen School. Schwegler denies the historical existence 
of Montanus, wrongly derives the system from Ebionism, and puts 
its essence in the doctrine of the Paraclete and the new supernatural 
epoch of revelation introduced by him. Against him wrote GEOBGII 
in the ^Deutsche Jahrbiicher iiir Wissenschaffc und Kunst," 1842. 
HILGENFELD : Die Glossolalie in der alien Kirche. Leipz. 1850. 
BATJR : Das Wesen des Jfontanismus nach den neusten Forschungen, in the 
"Theol, Jahrbiicher." Tub. 1851, p. 538 sqq.; and his Gesrh. der 
ChrML Kirche, I. 235-245, 288-295 (3d ed. of 1863). Baur, like 
Schwegler, lays the chief stress on the doctrinal element, but refutes 
his view on the Ebionitic origin of Mont, and reviews it in its con- 
flict with Gnosticism and episcopacy. 
NEEDNER: K. Gesch. 253 sqq., 259 sqq. 

ALBEECHT EITSCHL : Entstehung der alffcathol. Kirche, second ed. 1857, 
p. 402-550. R. justly emphasizes the practical and ethical features 
of the sect. 

P. GOTTW.ALD: De Montanismo Tertuttiani. Vratisl. 1862. 

A. SEVILLE: Tertullien et le Montanisme, in the "Bevue des dems 
mondes," Nov. 1864. Also his essay in the "Nouvelle Revue de 
Theologie" for 1858. 

R. A. LIPSIUS : Zur QueUerikritik des Epiphamos* Wien, 1865 ; and 
Die Quellen der altesten Ketzergeschichte. Leipz. 1875. 

EMILE STEdHLi^ : Ussai wr le Montanisme. Strasbourg, 1870. 

JOHN DE SOYEES : Montanism and the Primitive Church (Hulsean prize 
essay). Cambridge, 1878 (163 pages). With a useful chronological 

G. NATHAXAEL BO^TWETSCH (of Dorpat): Die Geschichte des Montanis- 
>ius. Erlangen, 1881 (201 pages \ The best book on the subject. 

REXAX: 3arc-Aur&e (1882), ch. XHI. p. 207-225. Also Ms essay Le M<m- 

lanisnie, in the " Revue des deux mondes," Feb. 1881. 

W. BELCK : Geschichte des Jfontanismus. Leip2ag, 1883. 

BILGES-FEU) : D. Ketzergesch. des Urchristenthums. Leipzig, 1884. (pp. 560- 

600.) * 

The subject is well treated by Dr. MOLLEB in Herzog (revis. ed 


Bd. X. 255-262) ; Bp. HEFELE in Wetzer & Welter, Bd. VII. 252- 
268, and in his Oonciliengesck. revised ed. Bd. I. 83 sqq. ; and by Dr. 
SALMOND in Smith & Wace, III. 935-945. 
Comp. also the Lit. on Tertullian, 196 (p. 818). 

110. External History of Jlontanism. 

All the ascetic, rigoristic, and chiliastic elements of the ancient 
church combined in Montanisin. They there asserted a claim to 
universal validity, which the catholic church was compelled, for 
her own interest, to reject; since she left the effort after extra- 
ordinary holiness to the comparatively small circle of ascetics 
and priests, and sought rather to lighten Christianity than add 
to its weight, for the great ma^s of its professors. Here is the 
place, therefore, to speak of this remarkable phenomenon, and 
not under the head of doctrine, or heresy, where it is commonly 
placed. sFor Montanism was not, originally, a departure from 
the faith, but a morbid overstraining of the practical morality 
and discipline of the early church. It was an excessive super- 
naturalism and puritanisio against Gnostic rationalism and 
catholic laxity. ") It is the first example of an earnest and well- 
meaning, but gloomy and fanatical hyper-Christianity, which, 
like all hyper-spiritualism, is apt to end in, the flesh. 

Montanism originated in Asia Minor, the theatre of many 
movements of the church in this period ; yet not in Ephesus or 
any large city, but in some insignificant villages of the province 
of Phrygia, once the home of a sensuously mystic and dreamy 
nature-religion, where Paul and his pupils had planted congre- 
gations at Colossse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis. 1 The movement 

1 Neander first pointed to the clo-e connection of Montanism with tha 
Phrygian nationality, and it is true as far as it goes, bnt does not explain the 
spread of the s/stem in North Africa. Schwegler and Baur protested against 
Neander*s view, but Renan justly reassert* it: tC La PJtrygie etait underpays 
de Vantiqutte fos plus partes aux rSoeries religieuses. L?s Phrygians vassaient, en 
general pour niais et tdmples. Le ehristianisme eut ehez ewe, c?&i rorigiiie, un 
charac&re essentiellement mystique et asc&ique. Dfyti, daris FfyUre CLJLX Golossiens, 
Paul combat des err&urs oft, les stgnes